COVID-19

What happens if you choose not to go back to work in Texas?

Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal May 20, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace
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Employment advertisements in a 2014 newspaper in Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images
COVID-19

What happens if you choose not to go back to work in Texas?

Andie Corban and Kai Ryssdal May 20, 2020
Employment advertisements in a 2014 newspaper in Australia. Scott Barbour/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Another report of initial unemployment claims data will be released tomorrow morning. The number of first-time applications for unemployment benefits has been declining for the past six weeks, but state unemployment offices are incredibly busy.

Marketplace host Kai Ryssdal spoke with Ed Serna, executive director of the Texas Workforce Commission, to see how things are going in Texas.

“It’s getting a little better, but not as good as we’d like it to be,” Serna said. “We still have a lot of people that we need to help.”

Texas’s shelter-in-place order ended this month, so restaurants, retail, and many other businesses are open again, with limited capacity. While many Texans have returned to work, some don’t feel comfortable going out.

“We are prepared to make some allowances,” Serna said, to allow people who are staying home to continue receiving unemployment benefits. “If you’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19 or you are at high risk or if you have childcare issues. The others, those are going to require us to look into the situation.”

Serna noted that the TWC’s default will be to continue to pay benefits until they can complete the investigation.

Click the audio player above to hear the interview.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

New COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. are on the rise. How are Americans reacting?

Johns Hopkins University reports the seven-day average of new cases hit 68,767 on Sunday  — a record — eclipsing the previous record hit in late July during the second, summer wave of infection. A funny thing is happening with consumers though: Even as COVID-19 cases rise, Americans don’t appear to be shying away from stepping indoors to shop or eat or exercise. Morning Consult asked consumers how comfortable they feel going out to eat, to the shopping mall or on a vacation. And their willingness has been rising. Surveys find consumers’ attitudes vary by age and income, and by political affiliation, said Chris Jackson, who heads up polling at Ipsos.

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

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