Following up on his March 31 projections that the Greater Houston area would lose 150,000 jobs in 2020, just two weeks later, regional economist Patrick Jankowski said locals could see a loss of 250,000 jobs in March and April alone.

“It won't surprise me if we see 250,000 people [in the Houston area] have lost their job in March and April as a result of the COVID-19 and the social distancing,” said Jankowski, senior vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, during an April 14 webinar.

According to the Texas Workforce Commission, nearly 750,000 Texans filed initial claims for unemployment insurance during the last two weeks of March and the first week of April. About 180,000 of those residents live in the Greater Houston area; Jankowski said the region would typically only see 10,000 claims over that same three-week period.

Jankowski said the number of unemployment insurance claims is likely to continue to rise over the coming weeks in the Houston area.

According to a survey of GHP members conducted April 4-6, about 17% of small businesses in the region have laid off employees in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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