DALLAS MORNING NEWS: More than 800,000 Texans are trying to apply for unemployment

DALLAS (BY: DOM DIFURIO, THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS) -- The Texas Workforce Commission is hiring 100 temporary workers to handle a crush of calls from 800,000 Texans trying to claim unemployment benefits.

The enormity of the coronavirus pandemic’s impact came out Wednesday in a Facebook Live event hosted by the agency’s executive director Ed Serna. The call volume is swamping TWC’s phone lines and website, with many would-be claimants complaining of constant busy signals and other technical problems.

Serna said more than 800,000 people have been trying to contact the agency, including over 100,000 calls on March 22. He said TWC has processed 150,000 claims this week -- far greater than the 3,000 it was handling before the virus outbreak.

Initial jobless claims soared to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million in the week ended March 21, according to the Department of Labor.

That is the highest number of initial jobless claims in history, since the Department of Labor started tracking the data in 1967, according to CNN.

The previous high was 695,000 claims filed in the week ending October 2, 1982.