News

125,000 Unemployed Texas Workers Have Filed Claims After Harvey

“As we move through the recovery process, we’re certainly looking to place people in employment,” Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Lisa Givens said. The commission is still determining which claims will be paid out.

Hurricane Harvey brought record flooding to Houston.
Among the costs of Hurricane Harvey are lost jobs.

Early projections say Hurricane Harvey will end up costing $190 billion. Damages, disruption to businesses and increased gas prices all contribute to this. Another factor: lost jobs due to the storm.

Lisa Givens, a spokesperson for the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), tells News 88.7 about 125,000 people in Texas have applied for Disaster Unemployment Assistance since Harvey hit.

Givens says not all of those claims will be paid, as they’re still processing eligibility requirements. 

“As we move through the recovery process, we’re certainly looking to place people in employment,” Givens said. “We are anecdotally hearing many times these claims are for temporary situations of unemployment. But we just won’t know until the long term plays out.”

More federal money is on the way to help with the situation. The Department of Labor has awarded a $30 million grant to the workforce commission to fund temporary jobs to aid cleanup, demolition and other Harvey recovery efforts. The commission is working with workforce development offices called Workforce Solutions to determine needs.

“The Workforce Solutions offices can determine by looking at individual skills and assessing their skill level, they’ll be able to appropriately place them in employment that fits their needs, as well as the employers’ demands,” Givens said.

Grants like these have been awarded to TWC in the past. An estimated $88 million in federal grant money was allocated to help after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A $13 million grant was awarded specifically for dislocated workers after the downturn of the gas and oil industry.

Pre-Harvey, the Texas workforce was ticking up, adding 5,500 jobs in August. And annual employment growth for Texas was at 2.5 percent, which was more than double the annual growth rate set the previous year.

Share