Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Austin seeing significant spike in unemployment claims


AUSTIN (KXAN) — New data from the Texas Workforce Commission shows that the Austin area, including Travis, Hays, Williamson, Caldwell and Bastrop counties, has seen a substantial increase in unemployment insurance claims because of COVID-19.

From March 1 to March 18, the Austin area had 11,851 claims, compared to 2,118 claims during the same period last year. That’s an increase of more than 450%.

Statewide, just on Monday and Tuesday of this week, there were more than 29,000 unemployment insurance claims.

That’s translated into heavy web traffic for the TWC website, which normally averages about 10,000 visitors a day. On Wednesday, the website had 50,000 visitors.

“With the impacts of the COVID-19 virus, TWC is experiencing a significant increase in the number of people visiting the TWC website which includes information for citizens about TWC programs, such as Unemployment Insurance (UI),” TWC spokesman Cisco Gamez told KXAN. “We recognize the inconvenience this causing for our customers and are working quickly with our agency partner, the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) to resolve issues and accommodate the increased number of users on TWC’s website. “

The agency plans to increase memory on its server to account for the spike in web traffic.

More maintenance on the website is expected to be done early Friday morning, too.

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