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Southeast Texas unemployment rate rises to 11.8 percent, higher than state, national average

November’s numbers are out and the unemployment rate in Southeast Texas is higher than the state and national average.

Nine months into the pandemic, unemployment numbers are on the rebound. Southeast Texans are grappling with even higher rates of unemployment.

November’s numbers are out and the unemployment rate in Southeast Texas is higher than the state and national average.

The pandemic put thousands of Texans out of work, leaving many to depend on collecting unemployment.

“Since the week ending March 14, the Texas Workforce Commission has processed over 6.4 million claims for unemployment insurance benefits,” Texas Workforce Commission Media and Public Relations Specialist Cisco Gamez said.

That is the equivalent of more than nine years of claims since March when compared to last year’s total, he said.

“And since that time, the Texas Workforce Commission has paid over $36.5 billion in benefits using state and federal funds,” Gamez said.

Unemployment has been especially tough in Southeast Texas. From November 2019 to November 2020, the unemployment rate has nearly doubled.

The hardest-hit industries are oil and gas, construction and hospitality, Workforce Solutions Southeast Texas business representative Kevin King said.

While there has been significant job growth in the state, TWC said the growth has not reached Southeast Texas.

“The problem is where is that growth, in what industries, and it’s not really the industries that are dominant in the Beaumont-Port Arthur area,” TWC director of communications James Bernsen said.

Soon extra money people were getting under the CARES Act is set to expire the day after Christmas, although a new bill is being debated in Congress.

If Congress decides to approve the next COVID-19 stimulus bill, that could mean another round of stimulus checks of up to $600 for those unemployed.

“If legislation is passed, we will implement it right away,” Bernsen said.

Congress could potentially make a decision to pass a new stimulus bill by the end of the weekend.

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