Gov. Abbott ends extra $300 in federal unemployment payments for Texans

Gov. Abbott announced Monday that Texas will reject any more federal funding of unemployment benefits related to the pandemic.

Abbott’s decision means unemployed Texans will no longer get the $300 weekly unemployment supplement from the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program starting June 26.

Abbott said in a statement there are enough open jobs for everyone currently on unemployment. 

"The Texas economy is booming and employers are hiring in communities throughout the state," Abbott said.

According to the most recent unemployment data from the Texas Workforce Commission, about 970,000 people were unemployed -- a rate of about 7 percent.

"There is a shortage of workers nowadays and you don't need an economist to tell you that," said Mike Davis, SMU economist.

Abbott says the number of available jobs almost mirrors the number of people receiving benefits. 

"It’s extremely challenging," said Kevin Lillis, Hospitality Alliance CEO.

Lillis owns the Jaxon Texas Kitchen and Beer Garden in downtown Dallas along with other restaurants across North Texas.

"We are not seating guests based on availability of seats, we are seating guests based on availability of servers and kitchen staff to service those seats," he said. 

The Texas Association of Business calls the $300 weekly unemployment supplement a major barrier to hiring. But experts say it’s likely more complicated than that.

"We have people who have left the restaurant business who are working in sales, construction, everything from OnlyFans to TikTok, you name it," said Jon Alexis, owner, TJ's Seafood and Malibu Poke.

Alexis says even before the pandemic there was a labor shortage in his industry.

Davis says there isn’t a once size fits all explanation for the current labor shortage. 

"There are certainly people who are saying I can make more money on unemployment and that's true. But there are also people that are saying, I don't have childcare, people taking courses online and working their way up the job ladder," Davis said.

Texas is one of numerous states with Republican governors that has opted in recent weeks to halt the additional federal unemployment payments before the program ends at the conclusion of the summer.


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