For the month of March, the Texas Work Force Commission reported the state's unemployment rate hovered at 6% but added 99,000 jobs, providing a much-needed boost after 2020.
“It’s definitely a huge thing, and it’s a major indicator that the economy is taking a major step in the right direction.=,” explained Dr. Robert Tennant, professor of economics at A&M-Central Texas.
After a year that brought many people to their knees, Dr. Tennant says we are finally starting to see things rebound.
“People have more money to pay they their rent, they have more money to buy things for the children, pay for groceries, get caught up on bills they may have gotten behind. Both in Texas and nationwide, there are a lot more people not filing for unemployment, which means there are a lot more jobs in the marketplace,” he said.
In 2020, we saw record highs for unemployment rates due to COVID-19 closures and restrictions. While we are seeing a rebound, representatives at Workforce Solutions of Central Texas say there is still a little way to go.
“You know last April, there was around 2,300 people that applied for unemployment, where as this year in April, there is about 633 people. The job market in our area is really good, Texas job market is really strong,” said Tom Elmore with Workforce Solutions of Central Texas.
Elmore says although they are seeing less people apply for unemployment, several 100 still are, with some still not qualifying for unemployment benefits. Dr. Tennant says others just aren't ready to reenter the workforce for a variety of reasons.
“With the special arrangements that has been made to help people during this time, the additional benefits are exceeding the regular wages for a fair number of people,” he said.
Elmore says the jobs are there, people just need to apply.
“The thing is it’s just getting people engaging again and becoming more comfortable with being back in employment," he said.
Elmore says there are hundreds of jobs in the food and retail industries, as well as local school districts across Central Texas. He encourages anyone who’s interested to apply.