WACO, Texas – The Department of Labor announced Thursday a record 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits as a result of COVID-19.
Waco ISD Substitute Teacher Jeffery Brown is part of the whopping number. Brown has been with the school district since September. However, back in March during Spring Break, the district cancelled classes due to fears of COVID-19.
“It has been a struggle trying to pay rent, utilities and cell phone,” Brown adds.
During our Facetime conversation, Brown said he predicted the outcome as cases of the virus rose around the world. In late March, he filed for unemployment and was approved in days.
“I thought I was going to hear back not til mid-April,” he says.
Experts say the devastating job market is rare.
“Well, it’s certainly unprecedented. I don’t know if we had anything like this. The closest I can remember is 2008-2009,” says Charley Ayres, of Workforce Solutions.
Ayers suggests people who are recently laid off should apply for ”essential jobs” – which includes the restaurant, plumbing, grocery and health care industry.
“Job seekers need to remember, you’re just going to have a little patience because of the shared volume of what’s going through the system right now,” Ayers warns.
Due to the tens of thousands filing for unemployment, the Texas site may face outages. Experts suggest to log on during non-peak hours, such as late nights or early mornings.