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An update from Workforce Solutions of West Texas

COVID-19 Update

May 11, 2020


· The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta Center for Workforce and Economic Opportunity is hosting a webinar titled "Ask Us Anything: Unemployment Trends and Effective UI Approaches" webinar on Wednesday, May 20, at 1 p.m. (CT). You can still register to participate and have the center's Stuart Andreason and Sarah Miller answer your questions about unemployment claims data filed during the pandemic. Andreason will also feature our new data tool, the Unemployment Claims Monitor, which tracks weekly unemployment insurance claims. Alex Camardelle, senior policy analyst with the Georgia Budget and Policy Institute, will join this conversation.

· The Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series: Business Strategy for an Evolving Future will be held Wednesday, May 20 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. The agenda will include an update on state and federal resources and programs; information on both financial and non-financial support; and live Q&A with the expert panel. The panel includes Adriana Cruz, Executive Director of Governor’s Economic Development and Tourism Office and Member of the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas; Aaron Demerson, Commissioner Representing Employers, Texas Workforce Commission; and Justin Crossie, Regional Administrator South Central Region, U.S. Small Business Administration. Click REGISTER HERE to participate.

· Mark your calendar now for The Future of Rural Texas, a two-day event sponsored by the Texas Tribune on November 9 and 10 at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. The event will cover public and higher education, broadband access and a preview with legislators and other elected officials. Important Note: The Texas Tribune events team is closely monitoring the public health situation ahead of this event and will follow the guidance issued by the state and local governments on large public gatherings. If we are unable to gather in-person for this event, we will move the discussion online. Sign up for updates about this event

Unemployment and Economic Data

· Unemployment claims slowed this past week, adding a little over 700 from the prior week, down from an average increase of 1,500 per week.

· Almost 4,300 employers in the region have been impacted by COVID-19 due to layoffs, reductions in hours, temporary or permanent closings.

· As shown in the chart below, UI claims peaked during the week of March 22 with a second peak during the week of April 12, reflecting filing by self-employed and contract workers. The chart also reflects the decline in UI claims, corresponding to some business re-openings.

Child Care Services

· As of today, 305 children of essential workers are enrolled in and receiving care. With the Governor Abbott’s announcement on May 17 allowing child care providers to re-open, the Texas Workforce Commission has announced the phase out of this emergency program for essential workers. Effective May 20, no new applications will be accepted for this program, however, individuals may continue to apply for the regular subsidized child care program for low-income, working families. Individuals participating in this program will continue to receive a maximum of three months of care from the date they were initially approved.

· Overall, 48 of the 172 licensed providers in the region are closed as of May 19. One additional contracted child care provider re-opened since the last report, resulting in 26 of the 89 contracted providers still reported as closed as of May 19.

If you have any questions or need additional information regarding any of these items, please feel free to contact us at You may also reach out directly to Mary Ross, Executive Director, at 325-795-4301 or via email at:

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