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Initial unemployment claims rise to highest level in four months

COLLEGE STATION (Texas Real Estate Research Center) – ​Initial unemployment insurance claims in Texas increase for the third straight week to 52,500 the week ending Jan. 9, the highest weekly reading since Sept. 5, 2020.

This brings the total since​ March 21 to 4.2 million, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

“The increase in initial claims underscores the slowing economy at the start of the year,” said Texas Real Estate Research Center Research Economist Dr. Luis Torres. “The rise also showcases the issues facing the labor market’s full recovery.”

In contrast to new claims, continuing unemployment claims decreased for the third straight week to​ 345,600 the week ending Jan. 2.

The number of workers receiving benefits through the pandemic unemployment assistance program, which is open to gig workers and others who don’t typically receive benefits, fell the week ending Jan. 9.​

​U.S. initial claims increased to 965,000 the week ending Jan. 9, bringing the 43-week total to 74.8 million.

According to Torres, the upswing in COVID-19 cases contributes to the increase in national weekly unemployment claims.​

As mentioned in previous reports, the claims numbers can be more volatile around the holidays because of challenges with seasonal adjustment.

More people in all of Texas’ major and border metros filed initial unemployment claims the week ending Jan. 2. The major metros rose to their highest weekly levels since Sept​. 5, 2020.

Using data from the DOL and the Employment and Training Administration, the Center has estimate​d unemployment claims for Texas’ major and border metros since March 21:

  • Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, 955,600 claims;
  • Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 909,800 claims;
  • San Antonio-New Braunfels, 283,500 claims;
  • Austin-Round Rock, 238,400 claims;
  • McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, 114,600 claims;
  • El Paso, 100,400 claims;
  • Brownsville-Harlingen, 50,300 claims; and
  • Laredo, 28,800 claims.​

The administrative​/support/waste management/remediation services industry registered the highest number of initial claims the week ending Jan. 2.

​That sector was followed by accommodation and food services, ​​retail trade, construction, and healthcare and social assistance.

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