Texas jobless to get additional benefits - Houston weather, traffic, news | FOX 26 | MyFoxHouston

Texas jobless to get additional benefits

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HOUSTON (FOX 26) -

When you factor in the folks who've quit looking, it's fair to say one in 10 Texans who would like to work, simply can't.

For them, the hunt for a place on a payroll comes with plenty of pain.  You can hear it in their voices.

"There are a lot of unemployed people in the state of Texas and I'm one of them.  I can attest to that," said job seeker Alicia Sims.

"It's a million people applying for the same job," said job seeker Ruby Sims.

"You lose things. You lose your place to stay, lose your transportation, baby sitters.  It's hard to feed your family," said Dee Behn, who has been without work more than a year.

"A lot of people out there with degrees and certifications can't even find a job in their own field," said job seeker Eli Ball.

"You kinda get sick and tired of being sick and tired," said Ruby Sims.

For many of the jobless fighting to make ends meet, there was word this week of limited relief.  The Texas Workforce Commission announced nine weeks of additional unemployment compensation for more than 32,000 Texans.  It is aid triggered by the Lone Star State's third consecutive month with a jobless rate above seven percent.

"The gap has narrowed between Texas and the rest of the country, that is to say the rest of the country has appeared to have made an improvement in the latest jobs report while Texas is not showing the same level of improvement," said Russell Green, an economist at Rice University's Baker Institute.

For the jobless in Texas the additional benefits are hardly a hefty windfall: weekly payments start at just $61 and max out just over $400.

"Nine weeks? I don't think that's long enough," said Alicia Sims.

But most agreed: short help beats no help.

"It's great no matter how small it is. 9 weeks is better than no weeks," said Behn.

The maximum number of weeks a Texan can collect unemployment now stands at 63.

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