Texas unemployment rate headed toward double digits, comptroller warns

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TEXAS TRIBUNE -- The unemployment rate in Texas is around 9% — up from the state’s recent record-low rate of 3.5% in January — as the new coronavirus spreads, Comptroller Glenn Hegar said Thursday.

Hegar said projections as recently as mid-March had unemployment rates rising to 6%.

“By the end of the week, no, this thing is worse than that,” Hegar said, speaking on air to the Texas Standard. “It’s up to probably 9%. And I have no doubt that people are going to start forecasting it’s going to be slightly in the low double digits.”

Unemployment insurance claims filed with the Texas Workforce Commission reached 16,038 from March 8 through March 14, the agency said in its latest release, compared with 11,556 claims filed during the same week in 2019.

The record-high unemployment rate for a single month in Texas was 9.2% in November 1986, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.