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B/CS Metro area has second lowest unemployment rate in the state

New economic indicator numbers show signs of improvement.
Published: Oct. 15, 2020 at 6:04 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The local economy is continuing to rebound slowly during the pandemic. Our unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent in August. It’s the second lowest rate for metro areas in Texas.

Economists are seeing signs of improvement in our local economy with 224 unemployment claims filed at the end of September for the Bryan / College Station area.

It’s the lowest weekly total since mid March.

“We really hurt a lot this year," said Ashley Berry, owner of A & Co. Beauty in College Station. Her business is slowly bouncing back. KBTX spoke to her back in April when she was filing for unemployment. The beauty salon was closed for six weeks when the pandemic caused businesses to shut down.

“I filed my unemployment claim online and I never had to do anything else but it did take about five and a half weeks so I was already almost back to work by the time I saw anything from them," said Berry.

“When I left here that day that we got shut down I thought maybe a week and I honestly was like ‘ok I can do a week’. But after that it was the unknown of ‘when are we going to get going?’ ‘When is this income going to come back?’ and just not knowing was the hardest part," added Berry.

“The initial unemployment claims really skyrocketed back in March and April and it did come down quite a bit," said Dennis Jansen, Ph.D. He is the Director of the Texas A&M Private Enterprise Research Center. “But again if you compare us now to before the pandemic started back in February we’re still quite a bit higher in terms of initial claims for unemployment benefits,”

He predicts recovery may take several years. He also expects to see more job openings in hospitality and restaurants.

“Well I just think we have had a terrible spell of unemployment. A terrible decline in output and GDP and I think the recovery from that has been slower than people expected back in March or April but it’s still pretty fast," said Jansen.

Jansen said he’s optimistic about the economic future.

“I suspect that I’ll be a bit faster than that but still it’s not going to happen tomorrow. It’s not going to happen by the end of this year," he added.

Berry said it will also take time for life to bounce back to how it was before the pandemic.

“I feel like we’re on the right path to get there," Berry said.

The statewide unemployment rate in August improved to 6.8 percent from 8 percent in July.

If you’d like to see the latest economic indicator data we have it attached here.

We have our separate story on the local housing market and economic indicators here.

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