The state's unemployment rate in January was its worst in more than 25 years. The state Department of Labor reports today that the faltering
national economy caused the rate to jump to 6.4 percent. That compared with 4.9 percent in December and 4.3 percent in January
Department spokeswoman Kathy Toelkes (TOHL-kehs) said the last
time the unemployment rate was as high was June 1983. The department also reported that the number of Kansans filing their first claims for unemployment benefits was nearly 27,000.
That's more than double the 13,000 who filed their first claims in January 2008. That continued a trend that started last summer. Similar trends are playing out nationally, and Kansas' unemployment rate still remained below the national figure. Federal officials said California, South Carolina, Michigan and Rhode Island had unemployment rates of more than 10 percent in January.