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How Texas businesses have fared so far during the COVID-19 pandemic

A new federal report shows how the pandemic has impacted Texas businesses versus the rest of the country.

AUSTIN, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic's impact on business is the 20/20 hindsight you wish you didn’t have. 

Since March, 6.3 million Texans have lost their jobs or been furloughed. The State has had a hard time keeping up with the demand for unemployment.

"Everybody had a disaster plan but not for something like this," Ed Serna, the executive director of the Texas Workforce Commission, said on April 14.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor's statistics show all private industries still have nearly 10 million fewer workers compared to February 2020.

But Texas fared better than most states. Federal stats show Texas at a 15.18% closure rate from government mandates.

Nationwide, the rate was closer to 19%.

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"Our goal is to keep businesses open," Gov. Greg Abbott said in a press conference on June 22.

Of those businesses forced to close, 61% of all Texas employers paid workers anyway. The feds call that "substantially higher" than the rest of the country, which was at 51%.

This happened more often in utilities, finance and insurance jobs.

Seventeen percent of Texas employers gave extra money for coronavirus-related sick leave. And nearly a third of Texas business owners increased how many employees can work from home, mostly in finance and education

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At least 1.4 million Texas still need work, according to the unemployment payments made in the last 10 days. And the State continues to go further into debt using Title XII advances to pay unemployment benefits as Texas pushes for job training.

As businesses continue to reopen, by percentage, retail employers gave the most raises nationwide at 11%. Agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting made the most hires.

"Closing down Texas again will always be the last option," Abbott said in June.

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