El Paso unemployment soars to nearly 20,000 claimants in 2020

El Paso News

EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — New data released by Workforce Solutions Borderplex on Monday continues to show a bleak outlook for the city’s workforce, despite a small improvement over the previous week’s numbers.

The weekly report is captured from the the Texas Workforce Commission’s unemployment claims, which totaled 6,221 for the week of March 29 through April 3. This is an improvement from the previous week where 9,546 workers in the region applied for unemployment benefits.

The staggering numbers show 16,253 people in the region claimed unemployment in March. The prior two months averaged 1,500 claimants.

Of those unemployment claims, 484 are from rural areas such as Alpine, Marfa, Presidio, and Terlingua. Many of those small towns are popular tourist attractions supported by hospitality industries.

In El Paso, the largest number of unemployment claims were from residents in East El Paso in the 79936 zip code, followed by 79912.

The number of claimants is not an accurate representation of workers in the area who are unemployed. The data does not include those who were unemployed before COVID-19 closures put a halt to many businesses in the Borderland, it also does not account for those who were able to secure jobs after initially claiming unemployment.

Each month, Workforce Solutions Borderplex releases a labor market review for the prior month. February’s data was released last week, showing a 3.8% unemployment rate for El Paso at the end of February. Comprehensive data analysis for the month of March, where most jobs were lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is not expected until the end of April.

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