Merced County has the Valley's highest jobless rate at 19.8%. Tulare County is at 17.5%. Mariposa County has the area's lowest rate at 12.3%.
The jobless rate in Fresno County was 16.8% last month. Much of the Valley's economy is Ag-based so typically the unemployment rate is higher during the colder months. The construction industry lost 400 more jobs last month.
Steven Gutierrez is a Labor Market Analyst with the Employment Development Department and he said, "December of 1992 was the last time that we saw the unemployment rate at 16.8% so it's been a while since it's been that high."
Gutierrez said "transportation and utilities" was the only sector to see improvement last month.