Texas Gov. Abbott pulls Scrooge-like move on COVID-19 unemployment benefits

Seemingly vying for the title of Biggest Meanie in the World, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has opted out of federal unemployment compensation related to COVID-19, effective June 26.

This includes the $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program.

Abbott made the announcement on May 17, declaring that Texas’ economy was booming.

“According to the Texas Workforce Commission, the number of job openings in Texas is almost identical to the number of Texans who are receiving unemployment benefits,” Abbott said. “That assessment does not include the voluminous jobs that typically are not listed, like construction and restaurant jobs. In fact, there are nearly 60 percent more jobs open (and listed) in Texas today than there was in February 2020, the month before the Pandemic hit Texas.”

The governor cited the following figures from the Texas Workforce Commission:

nearly 45 percent of posted jobs offer $15.50 per hour or up

approximately 76 percent pay $11.50 per hour or up

2 percent of posted jobs pay minimum wage

Abbott insisted that the focus must shift to getting unemployed Texans working, rather than paying unemployment benefits to remain off the employment rolls.

He also claimed that many unemployment claims being filed are fraudulent, citing estimates from the TWC that nearly 18 percent of all unemployment benefit claims, or 800,000 claims, are either confirmed or suspected to be fraudulent.

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