Texas to end participation in federal pandemic-related unemployment June 26

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Gov. Greg Abbott notified the U.S. Department of Labor that Texas will end its participation in pandemic-related federal unemployment compensation starting June 26.

This includes ending a $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the federal program.

“According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits. That assessment does not include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, like construction and restaurant jobs. In fact, there are nearly 60 percent more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the Pandemic hit Texas,” Gov. Abbott said in a press release.

Many Texas businesses attribute difficulties in hiring new workers to the additional federal supplements people were receiving. Just last week, the Texas Association of Business called on the governor to end Texas’ participation in the program.

The governor’s office said according to the Texas Workforce Commission, nearly 45% of posted jobs offer wages more than $15.50 per hour. About 76% pay more than $11.50 per hour.

“The focus must be on helping unemployed Texans connect with the more than a million job openings, rather than paying unemployment benefits to remain off the employment rolls,” the governor’s office said in the release.

The state is also trying to cut down on the amount of fraudulent unemployment claims, saying the TWC estimates nearly 18% of all claims filed during the pandemic are either confirmed or suspected to be false. That comes out to more than 800,000 claims.

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