One-year unemployment continued to improve in January

The year-over-year unemployment rate for all four Central Valley counties dropped in January and the total number of jobs increased in three of the four counties compared to January 2011.

The month-over-month unemployment rate increased in all four counties, consistent with the seasonal trend, according to the Employment Development Department’s monthly release on Friday.

Madera County maintains the lowest unemployment rate in the region at 15.1 percent, followed by Kings and Fresno counties at 16.9 percent and Tulare County at 17.3 percent.

Kings County had the biggest decrease in the year-over-year unemployment rate, as it dropped 1.6 percentage points from 18.5 to 16.9 percent, followed by Fresno County with a 1.4 percentage point drop. Madera and Tulare counties both lowered theirs by 1.3 percentage points.

Fresno County saw its total number of jobs increase by 3,500 over that 12-month span. Tulare County improved by 2,900 jobs and Kings County by 1,500 jobs. Madera County was the only county that saw jobs disappear, with its total decreasing by 1,100.

All four counties are still above the statewide unemployment rate of 11.3 percent and the national unemployment rate of 8.8 percent.