Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that the Texas Workforce Commission has launched the workintexas.com website to connect unemployed Texans with job opportunities.
Users can search by position and ZIP code to find work in their area. So far, the site has nearly 500,000 open jobs, with 265 positions posted on Wednesday alone. About 500 of these jobs are in the Austin area, with positions ranging from software engineers and nurses to mechanics and warehouse managers. Local tech companies like Salesforce and Cloudflare have posted several jobs to the site.
This new website may be one way to get millions of newly unemployed Texans back to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last Friday the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Texas’ unemployment rate is 4.7 percent, up from the consistent 3.5 percent the state had been experiencing since last October. However, this number pre-dates the widespread business closures and layoffs that escalated over the last month, leading to more than one million Texans filing for unemployment in March alone. With this in mind, analysts estimate the state’s actual jobless rate is greater than 10 percent, which could be a record high, according to the Texas Tribune.
Austin’s unemployment rate climbed to 3.5 percent in March, up from the 20-year-low rate of 2.6 percent the city was seeing just a month prior. Like the statewide numbers, these statistics don’t account for the widespread layoffs Austin experienced over the last few weeks. According to reporting by the Austin American-Statesman, roughly one in five Austinites lost their job because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which means the unemployment rate is likely closer to 20 percent.
This launch comes on the heels of Abbott’s recently announced plan to reopen the state’s economy in the coming weeks.
“As we continue to slow the spread of COVID-19, we are also working to alleviate the severe economic devastation that has impacted so many Texans,” Abbott said at Tuesday’s press conference. “People are ready to get to work and earn a paycheck again, and the state of Texas is committed to connecting Texans with the many job opportunities that exist throughout the state.”