Layoffs affecting local workers

January 23, 2009 4:54:43 PM PST
On Friday, new information about job losses in Texas showed that the state is not immune to the effects of the recession.[WATCH: Living with layoffs: Houston's jobless tell their stories]

Unemployment in Texas hasn't been this bad since 2004. It's still better than most states in the country, but the state workforce commission admits today that the bad news has finally caught up with Texas.

Houston's unemployment rate sits at 5.5%, unchanged since November, but up more than a point since last year. That's not good news for Houstonians who are out of work.

"You just want to crawl in bed and cover your head to say, poor me ... this is not fair," said unemployed worker Wade Hooker.

Hooker lost his job in December. He is now one of the 157,000 unemployed people in the Houston region.

"You've got to get over that pretty fast and get going," he said.

Nationally the news is even worse.

On Friday, President Obama said, "We are monitoring what's happening and, frankly, the news has not been good."

Unemployment across the country is more than 7% and President Obama is promising help with his stimulus package.

"We are experiencing an unprecedented, perhaps, economic crisis that has to be dealt with and dealt with rapidly," said the president.

However, the spending plan is not expected to create jobs immediately.

"The Congressional Budget Office came out with a study saying (that of) the bulk of the money allocated, $30 billion, only $7 billion will be used the first year. We're talking about jobs down the road," said Rep. Pete Olson (R) of Sugar Land.

There is proof that Texas is doing better. The Texas unemployment rate is 6%, whereas nationally the rate is 7.2%. Michigan is the worst state nationwide at 9.6%, while Wyoming is the best at 3.2%.

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