MCALLEN, Texas (KVEO) — The Labor Department released new numbers Thursday showing unemployment claims have dropped to the lowest since the start of the pandemic.
“We’ve seen kind of steady decline in unemployment numbers throughout the state of Texas,” said James Bernsen, Deputy Communications Director for the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC).
Bernsen said jobs are opening and getting filled as unemployment numbers see a decline, but only in certain industries.
“Transportation, utilities, warehousing, professional business services, and in McAllen the finances services industry has also increased significantly,” he said.
According to Bernsen unemployment numbers are not only dropping across the state but also in the Rio Grande Valley. Numbers show Hidalgo County had 4,500 and Cameron County had 1,900 people applying for unemployment.
While those numbers show improvement, other businesses like restaurants are still suffering.
“We are facing an uphill battle to fill in spots at the moment. We have 10 available spots for servers, bartenders, and cooks, but we’re only getting 1 to 2 people applying for the jobs,” said Navin Chatlani, Manager at the London Grill & Tavern in McAllen.
Chatlani said while it’s great to see some businesses thriving, he believes the reason bars and restaurants are still struggling is because of the unemployment benefits.
“The biggest issue we face is that people are having benefits that are allowing them not to work or jobs that are offering them much more benefits than what we can offer as a mom and pop business,” said Chatlani.
While businesses like restaurants are still in need of workers, Bernsen said the jobs are there, it’s all about connecting people with an employer.
“There’s a lot of opportunity out there, and I want to encourage all those folks to look at those jobs, and really the time to look is now, the time to look is not to wait until the end of the unemployment benefits,” said Bernsen.
The pandemic unemployment benefits are set to expire June 26, 2021.