Labor Day Update: Texas' Unemployment Insurance System

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Author:
Don Baylor /(512) 320-0222 x 108

September 6, 2009

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With the unemployment rate reaching 7.9 percent in July, coupled with a decrease in job creation, Texans face greater financial hardships, with many unable to pay their mortgages, afford health care and provide for their family’s basic needs. With unemployment on the rise, more Texans turn to the unemployment insurance (UI) system for financial relief to bridge the gap between jobs. Unfortunately, fewer than 35 percent of unemployed Texans became insured during the first quarter of 2009 â€" maintaining Texas’ ranking of 50th in the nation. Despite a low recipiency rate and a lower unemployment rate compared to the rest of the nation, the chronically insolvent UI Trust Fund ran dry after only six months of elevated claims. The Trust Fund now faces a gigantic deficit heading into 2010, billions of dollars in future debt service, and higher employer rates for years to come.

This Policy Page provides an overview of the Texas labor market and the state of the unemployment insurance system.