Mixed news for unemployed Texans
HOUSTON (KTRK) -- For those struggling to find a job, there is mixed news. The employment picture in Houston is getting better, but it comes at a cost.
When the unemployment number was rising, extending unemployment benefits became quite common. But the job situation in Texas is improving, and because of that some out of work Texans are no longer able to apply for some emergency unemployment funds.
The signs of improvement are everywhere. But while the Texas unemployment rate is falling, currently 7.1 percent, it's still hard for many workers to find a job.
"The people looking for work can't really find work," Charles Belard said.
Belard says there are jobs available, but often they do not pay enough to support his family.
"They have so many citizens and veterans looking for work and what they are paying is below the income level for someone to actually survive," Belard said.
While Belard keeps looking for work, the newly out of work are finding the amount of unemployment compensation available is falling.
In July, the Texas unemployment rate fell below seven percent. It's far enough that the state no longer qualifies for certain extended unemployment compensation.
State officials say more than 22,000 people in Texas will no longer receive unemployment benefits after 60 weeks without a job. That's down from 73 weeks without a job.
"I think it is a double-edged sword," job search expert Rick Gillis said.
Gillis runs his own job search company and helps people find work. Gillis says in Houston, those with a background in oil and gas should have no trouble finding work, but that's little consolation to many others looking for a job.
"Some of it is luck of the draw. Some people I've worked with, literally in a week or two weeks because they had a skill set that someone was looking for; other places, it can take a year or it can take more," Gillis said.
Gillis says holiday season hiring is starting to pick up and it's an opportunity the unemployed should not pass up.
"A lot of those people are not looking for that holiday position, they are not looking for retail, they are looking for getting back into their skill set," he said.
The key date to know is July 7. If you lost your job before that, you will get the extra weeks of unemployment compensation. If you lost your job after July 7, you do not.
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