Unemployment hits record high in Houston area

HOUSTON – The Houston area has lost more jobs in the month of April than any other month on record. That is a total of 312,000 jobs, according to Workforce Solutions.

“There is no precedent for this. We’ve never seen a number this large ever in the history of us having data on Houston,” said the Principal Economist for Workforce Solutions Parker Harvey.

The latest and staggering numbers believed to be a direct impact of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. Unemployment is at a record high of 14.2% and more than 452,000 Houston area workers are without jobs, according to a new report by Workforce Solutions.

“Our leisure, hospitality, bars, restaurants and hotels are ground zero for the shut down for those who were hit the hardest,” said Harvey.

A closer look at the numbers indicates Baytown, which traditionally has the highest unemployment rate in the area, had the largest jump from 10.2% in March to nearly 23.4% in April.

“It’s because of construction jobs related to the port, the chemical plants and whatnot. There’s just a very fluid pool of workers over there and that’s why it’s elevated on that side of town,” Harvey said.

Residents say they’re not surprised by the latest round of numbers.

“It’s hard you know I couldn’t imagine. I couldn’t imagine being in that predicament," said resident Brittany Merchant.

Michael Conger, a Baytown resident, said, “I won’t be surprised if it hits 500,000 before it’s all over and over because they keep extending the lockdowns.”

Until things do turn around, economists say learning a new trade could be beneficial for those currently unemployed.

“A lot of people have the opportunity to engage in online learning. They may not have had time to do before to acquire some additional skills. That would be something that I highly recommend that you do,” said Harvey.

Here is the full report published by Workforce Solutions:

Here is a presentation on the impact of COVID-19 published by Workforce Solutions:

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Galveston-born, award-winning journalist, dog owner, foodie & occasional golfer.