AUSTIN, Texas -- Another bleak week when it comes to the number of Texans out of work.254,000 filed claims for unemployment last week

  • 254,000 filed claims for unemployment last week
  • More than 1.5 million filed jobless claims since mid-March
  • Nationally, 30 million Americans filed for unemployment since mid-March

New numbers released Thursday show another 254,000 filed claims for unemployment last week. That brings the total number of Texans able to file jobless claims to more than 1.5 million since mid-March, when officials started closing businesses to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

A semi-bright spot: last week's figures are down about nine percent from the week before.

Nationally, nearly 4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week for a total of 30 million claims since mid-March.

As more non-essential businesses begin to reopen, economists predict those numbers will gradually start to get smaller.

“They’re still going to be big and there are still going to be losses. As each week goes by the losses will get a little bit smaller until it plateaus at some level up until we have those things that we need – testing, a vaccine – when the economy after that point would recover probably very quickly,” said Dr. Michael Noel, an economics professor at Texas Tech University.  

While some Texans will be allowed to return to work Friday, the limited capacity restrictions mean some businesses say it's not worth it right now.

Dr. Noel says don’t expect a ton of businesses to return just yet.

“25 percent is not a lot but it is something. And it is a step to a full return to the economy,” he said. “You got to keep in mind, though, that not a lot of businesses are going to open simply because of the virus concerns. It’s hard to have 25 percent capacity in an elevator or bathroom or things like this.”

Click the video link above to watch our full interview with Dr. Noel.