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Update on Unemployment from Workforce Solutions of West Texas



Workforce Update

June 2, 2020

General

· The Governor’s Small Business Webinar Series: Business Strategies for an Evolving Future will feature Texas Governor Greg Abbott this Thursday, June 4 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The panel will include executives from eBay, Facebook, Workforce Solutions, the Small Business Development Center and TWC Commissioner Aaron Demerson. Click here to register for this free event.

· Results of Federal Reserve Bank survey of community leaders regarding the economic outlook for their community and pandemic’s effect on their organization are available here.

Unemployment

· New unemployment insurance claims continue to decline, with approximately 4,500 employers across the region impacted by the pandemic. Over 14,400 individuals have filed claims since the start of the pandemic.

· The Texas Workforce Commission has now paid out over $9.5 billion in claims to over 2.8 million individuals. Thee are still over 100,000 individuals who have filed claims and have not received payment yet. The Texas Workforce Commission is reaching out to these individuals to assist them in obtaining payment.

· The Texas Workforce Commission received notification from the U.S. Department of Labor that they are now eligible to receive 100% reimbursement for payment of the 13-week state extended benefits. These benefits are only payable to individuals who worked for a covered employer—meaning, self-employed and contract workers will not be eligible for these benefits.

· According to recent estimates provided by the Texas Workforce Commission, statewide approximately 75% of the individuals receiving Unemployment Insurance payments have higher benefit amounts than their pre-UI wages. In West Central Texas, the percentage is approximately 76%. The average weekly benefit amount is $1,120 compared to pre-UI average weekly wages of $852.61. The average weekly benefit amount is comprised of an average benefit amount of $520 and an additional $600 in federal CARES stipends.

· The charts on the following page identify claimant numbers by workforce center location and reflect the continued decline in claim filing.


Child Care

· The majority of the Board’s 89 contracted providers who are typically open year-round have re-opened their facilities as of June 1 with only 6 year-round providers remaining closed according to Child Care Regulatory services. Overall, 29 of the 173 providers in the region remained closed.

· To assist with the additional costs associated with the minimum standards established by the Governor’s Strikeforce, child care providers began receiving an additional 25% stipend above their normal billing amount retroactive to April 1. These funds can be used to support staff, purchase cleaning supplies or other operational costs. No end date has been set for the ending of these payments yet.

Workforce

· We are partnering with Ranger College to offer CDL training in Brownwood. The 4 week program begins June 15 at the Ranger College Brown County Center. Interested individuals may contact Holly Stultz at 325-795-4236 or via email at holly.stultz@workforcesystem.org.

· We will be hosting a regional virtual job fair on Thursday, June 25 from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. This virtual event will be open to all employers and jobseekers in the region at no cost. We will be utilizing a new purchased virtual job fair platform that allows video interviewing as well as live chat. Job-seekers will be able to participate using their mobile device, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. If you have job openings and are interested in participating or are interested in being a sponsor, please send an email to jobsnow@workforcesystem.org.

· The Texas Workforce Commission has not re-initiated job search requirements yet, but we anticipate that individuals receiving Unemployment Insurance will be required to register in WorkInTexas and begin their job search activities later this month. We have already launched a “Beat the Rush” campaign to encourage individuals to complete their WorkInTexas registration now. Assistance with registration is available via Zoom webinars, live chat on our website, Facebook or by calling our main number at 325-795-4200.

· We plan to re-open the Abilene workforce center to customers on an appointment-only basis on June 15. Rural sites will also open on an appointment only basis on Tuesdays and Thursdays, beginning June 16. Due to the limited number of customers that can be accommodated in Resource Room areas due to social distancing requirements, in-person services will be focused primarily on individuals who lack technology to access virtual services. All services will continue to be available remotely.

· We are pleased to join the Texas Workforce Commission in celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Smith-Fess Act, commonly known as the National Civilian Vocational Rehabilitation Act on June 2, 1920. This was the first federally funded program designed to serve individuals with disabilities that were not acquired as a result of military service. Our special thanks to Tommy Higgins and his staff for their dedication to providing quality service to individuals with disabilities throughout the West Central Texas region.

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

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© 2020 by the Abilene Chamber of Commerce

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