As Texas Prepares to Phase Out Stay-at-Home, Governor Abbott Says Nearly Half a Million Jobs Are Now Open

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said there are nearly 500,000 job openings available as the state works to lift restrictions and reopen the economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Abbott made the announcement during a Tuesday press briefing. The governor acknowledged that while many people will be able to return to the jobs they held before lockdown measures were put in place, many others will need to look for new jobs.

"I wanted to share information with the public about so many job openings that are out there," Abbott said. "Believe it or not, we have close to half a million jobs that are available as we speak right now... there are a lot of different types of job openings we have."

Abbott shared the website WorkInTexas.Com, which offers free job matching services in the state. He said that "big and small companies alike" were hiring in every region of Texas. The governor highlighted openings from Amazon and multiple supermarket chains, as well as jobs in the health care and tech industries, among others.

The governor announced on April 10 that he would be focusing on "protecting lives while restoring livelihoods" by reopening the state's economy. Abbott's stay-at-home order is set to expire after April 30.

State parks opened to visitors on Monday, while restrictions on certain medical procedures are set to loosen on Wednesday. Retail businesses will be allowed to reopen on Friday, provided they offer products on a "to go" basis.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Texas Governor Greg Abbott speaks to the press in Austin on March 29, 2020. Tom Fox-Pool/Getty

Additional business openings are expected to be announced on April 27. Around $1.4 billion has been paid out on over 1 million unemployment claims in the state since the health crisis began.

"We know that Texans really want to get back to work," said Abbott. "It's kind of part of the Texas DNA. There has been a yearning to work ever since the first day that work was shut down. That is one reason why I and my team have been working swiftly on a program to get Texas back to work."

Abbott also said that the state was working with employers to develop strategies to for reopening, while insisting that doctors would be "pouring over" the recommendations and making their own suggestions.

"Our team has received a lot of information from the public, from various different private sector businesses that are prepared to open up their doors as soon as possible," Abbott said. "They are providing us with information and strategies about what they consider to be the safe ways they can open their businesses while also containing the spread of Covid-19."

Over 200,000 Texas residents have been tested for the virus, with around 10 percent of the results being positive. Texas has nearly 29 million residents and some experts have suggested that the testing conducted has been inadequate and is unlikely to provide an accurate measure of how far the virus has spread in the state.

Abbott believes that infections are waning, citing a declining death rate, while hospitalizations caused by the virus have largely remained unchanged. As of April 21, there were more than 20,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the state, including over 500 deaths.

Newsweek called Abbott's office for additional comment but no one answered the phone.