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Even as economy reopens, unemployed Texans continue to struggle

FILE - In this Wednesday, May 13, 2020 file photo, a sign announces a store closing in Niles, Ill. Criminals are seizing on a surge in job losses to steal unemployment benefits from Americans nationwide. The uptick in crime complicates an already tough situation for millions of financially strapped Americans and overwhelmed state unemployment offices. In June 2020, the U.S. Labor Department testified that at least $26 billion will have been wasted, going largely to fraudsters instead of those in need. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
FILE - In this Wednesday, May 13, 2020 file photo, a sign announces a store closing in Niles, Ill. Criminals are seizing on a surge in job losses to steal unemployment benefits from Americans nationwide. The uptick in crime complicates an already tough situation for millions of financially strapped Americans and overwhelmed state unemployment offices. In June 2020, the U.S. Labor Department testified that at least $26 billion will have been wasted, going largely to fraudsters instead of those in need. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – The national unemployment rate dropped to 13.3% in May from nearly 15% in April, officials announced Friday. The U.S. economy gained an unexpected 2.5 million jobs last month as more businesses reopen across the country after the coronavirus pandemic.

The Texas unemployment rate as of April 30 is at 12.8% which is the highest ever recorded in the state. The rate of unemployment in the Lone Star State is not yet available for May.

Harris County has even more people out of work with the rate of unemployment on April 30 recorded at 14.4%.

The service industry remains the worst affected both in Harris County and in Texas due to widespread coronavirus closures.

On June 1, the state triggered State Extended Benefits, allowing federal reimbursement to the state for up to 12 additional weeks of unemployment benefits. The extension took effect on May 31, and before that, the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation which was passed as part of the CARES Act extended unemployment benefits for 13 weeks starting March 29.


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