Comptroller: Texas has lost 2 million jobs, is projected to lose $4.6B due to COVID-19

On July 20, Hegar released updated revenue estimates for the 2020-21 biennium that project a $4.6 billion loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screenshot courtesy League City Regional Chamber of Commerce)
On July 20, Hegar released updated revenue estimates for the 2020-21 biennium that project a $4.6 billion loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screenshot courtesy League City Regional Chamber of Commerce)

On July 20, Hegar released updated revenue estimates for the 2020-21 biennium that project a $4.6 billion loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Screenshot courtesy League City Regional Chamber of Commerce)

In February, the state of Texas gained 50,000 new jobs; however, more than 2 million jobs were lost in the following months during the COVID-19 economic downturn, according to Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar.

"February—it seems like it was so, so many years ago," Hegar said in a conversation July 23 with the League City Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Hegar delivered this update on the state of Texas' economy amid the coronavirus outbreak and highlighted measures state officials have taken to mitigate its damage.

On July 20, Hegar released updated revenue estimates for the 2020-21 biennium, which outlined a projected $4.6 billion loss due to COVID-19.

When the state comptroller's office submits revenue estimates, Hegar said, the process is a forecast based on combined analyses of job growth, new citizenry and the prosperity of key industries, such as oil and gas.


“That crystal ball is usually [clouded] with uncertainty," Hegar said.

Texas gained more than 300,000 jobs in 2019 alone. Within the past decade, 2.5 million jobs have been added in Texas, which represents nearly 25% of total job creation in the United States during the same time frame, Hegar said.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, hotel, leisure and hospitality, service, mining and oil industries have taken significant revenue slashes and suffered substantial job losses.

Every two years, Hegar said, a portion of accumulated revenue from the oil industry goes into the state's general treasury fund, while 37.5% goes into state savings and 37.5% is allocated to the state's highway fund. The state initially projected $1.6 billion in revenue going into state savings in 2020 and 2021; that amount has dropped to $1.1 billion due to COVID-19.

As Texas' economy continues to reopen, Hegar said public health and safety are paramount in ensuring the stability of the state's fiscal status. The health of a state's economy, Hegar said, is dependent on the safety of its workforce.

With Hegar's revised revenue estimates, he is proposing agencies reduce expenditures by 5% for the duration of the fiscal year 2020-21 budget. Given the current biennium only has 15 months remaining, those cuts create a reduction of closer to 8.5%, Hegar said. He added the comptroller's agency has enacted a hiring freeze and placed a halt on pay increases to help create cost savings.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to play out, Hegar said he and his team will continually monitor the state's unemployment and employment levels; Texas' gross domestic product; frequency of travel, mobility and hotel occupancy in the coming months; and sales tax revenue collections. With Texas' economy being the ninth-largest in the world, Hegar said he will closely monitor the status of the global economy and Texas' international partners to help project fiscal health.

The state of Texas has received more than $13 billion in federal funds for statewide relief, Hegar said. The Texas Department of Emergency Management oversaw the distribution of that funding and how it was allocated to local government entities.

Now, Hegar said, is an especially crucial time to re-evaluate small business owners' thoughts, opinions and perspectives on their needs as well as to revisit regulations placed on business activity. He said the state needs to work to ensure that government rules and regulations are not preventing local businesses from creating jobs and economic opportunities for their immediate communities.

“Small businesses are the place of creativity, the creation of innovation," Hegar said.
By Kelsey Thompson
Kelsey Thompson is the reporter for Round Rock, Pflugerville and Hutto, where her work focuses on education, city government and community development. Originally from Upstate New York, Kelsey relocated to Austin after graduating from Syracuse University in May 2019.


MOST RECENT

Here is an update on COVID-19 cases in Williamson County. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Williamson County reports lowest number of COVID-19 hospitalizations Sept. 28

As of Sept. 28, there are five patients hospitalized and none in intensive care.

Luna's Tacos' menu features international tacos influenced by different regions throughout the world. (Courtesy Luna's Tacos)
Luna’s Tacos opens in Round Rock and 2 other business updates to know

Here are three of the latest business updates in Round Rock and Hutto.

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody (center) with his attorney, Gerry Morris, maintained his innocence during a Sept. 28 news conference after a Williamson County grand jury indicted the elected official for evidence tampering in the Javier Ambler case. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
‘I did not tamper with evidence’: Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody speaks on indictment charges

Williamson County Sheriff Robert Chody maintained his innocence during a Sept. 28 news conference after a Williamson County grand jury indicted the elected official for evidence tampering in the Javier Ambler case.

Get to know the two candidates, Michelle Ly and Tina Steiner, who are running for Round Rock City Council Place 1.
November 2020 election: Meet the candidates for Round Rock City Council Place 1

Get to know the two candidates, Michelle Ly and Tina Steiner, who are running for Round Rock City Council Place 1.

Meet the candidates running for Williamson County attorney in November. (Community Impact Newspaper staff)
Election Q&A: Meet Williamson County attorney candidates

Candidates Dee Hobbs and Stan O. Springerley speak on why they are the best candidate and how they will tackle COVID-19 recovery efforts.

Capital Metro's board of directors approved the public transportation agency's $390.5 million budget for fiscal year 2020-21 on Sept. 28. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
$390.5 million Capital Metro budget projects $14 million reduction in sales tax revenue

Cap Metro's sales tax revenue for the upcoming year landed between the best- and worst-case projections its CFO had presented earlier this summer.

Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick held a press conference Sept. 28 on the indictment of Sheriff Robert Chody. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATED: Williamson County DA speaks on Sheriff Robert Chody evidence-tampering indictment, offers timeline

The sheriff was indicted Sept. 25 for evidence tampering related to the Javier Ambler case.

The county reported 10 confirmed cases and one additional death. (Community Impact staff)
Williamson County coronavirus positivity rate drops again to 3.4%

The county reported 10 confirmed cases and one additional death.

Gov. Greg Abbott at a press conference
Gov. Greg Abbott to allocate $171M from CARES Act to help renters at risk of eviction

Gov. Greg Abbott will allocate more than $171 million in renters assistance from the federal coronavirus relief package to eligible Texans.

(Courtesy New Braunfels Ghost Tours)
Scary good: New Braunfels Ghost Tours makes top 10 list and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Travis County voter round-up, ballot box
November 2020 election guide: Who's on the ballot, where to vote and how to drop off your mail-in ballot in Travis County

Your guide to the November 2020 ballot, voting locations and mail-in ballot information for Travis County residents.

Early voting begins Oct. 13, ballot box
November 2020 election: Here are the candidates on the ballot in Williamson County

Here is everything you need to know when early voting begins on Oct. 13 in Williamson County.