More than 7,000 Jefferson County residents have filed in the last four weeks.
A further 5.2 million Americans filed for initial unemployment benefits in the week ending April 11, according to data released Thursday from the U.S. Department of Labor. That includes nearly 300,000 Texans.
That brings the four-week total up to 22 million, or 13.5% of the workforce, since the first major COVID-19-related layoffs and job losses began March 14. That's roughly equivalent to the combined population of the nation's eight largest cities. The DOL data reveals 273,567 Texans filed for unemployment from April 4 to 11, and 315,167 filed the week prior.
The fields that experienced the most layoffs in Texas include mining; accommodation and food services; manufacturing; health care and social assistance; information; retail trade; administrative; support; waste management; remediation services; wholesale trade; and arts, entertainment and recreation.
Texas' unemployment rate sat at 3.5% in February, before social distancing measures and stay-at-home orders were put in place. The nation's rate was the same before the March layoffs began and bled into April. According to data released April 17 by the Texas Workforce Commission, the state's unemployment rate jumped to 4.7% through March, two weeks before the state hit 1 million unemployment filings.
A closer look at TWC data reveals more than 10,000 have filed for unemployment in Jefferson, Hardin and Orange counties. Jefferson County had just over 7,000 of those in that four-week period. In the four weeks prior to the beginning of COVID-19 related layoffs, 1,088 filed for unemployment in Jefferson County.