The Abilene and the state of Texas unemployment rates for January 2009 are up nearly a full percentage point from December.
The Texas Workforce Commission reports the state's unemployment rate rose to 6.4 in January, compared to a revised 5.6 percent in December and 4.4 percent from a year ago.
Texas' seasonally adjusted nonagricultural employment fell by 75,800 jobs in January.
In the Abilene area, those numbers are 5.1 percent in January, compared to 4.2 percent in December and 3.9 percent in January 2008.
Texas' unemployment rate remains below the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent. Commission Chairman Tom Pauken says the national economic crisis is beginning to have a serious, negative impact on the Texas economy.
The news comes just days after some Democratic legislators urged Governor Rick Perry to accept an additional $550 million in federal stimulus funds to pay the state's unemployed workers. The state would have to make a number of possible changes to receive the federal money for unemployment insurance, including extending benefits to part-time workers and giving benefits to workers who leave employment to follow a spouse who is relocated.
The governor's office and several fiscal watchdog groups have said the state should not accept stimulus funds for programs that would require funding after the stimulus money is gone.
Governor's office spokeswoman Allison Castle says Perry is still undecided on whether or not to accept federal stimulus money for the state's unemployment insurance. She said earlier this week that they are reviewing the federal stimulus legislation to determine what strings and stipulations are attached and the long-term economic impact to Texas taxpayers.
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