Stefanie Schwartz with northwest Fresno temp agency, Pridestaff says Friday's unemployment numbers are an indicator of a strengthening economy. "The economy is definitely turning around; the staffing industry is definitely a good measure of where we are in the economy. The temporary placements are the first to go away when the recession hits," said Schwartz.
Merced County has the highest unemployment rate at 19.5%. Fresno and Kings County both have a rate of 16.9%. Tulare County checked in at 17.3%. Madera County has a rate of just over 15%. Mariposa has the lowest rate at 13.5%. January's numbers are slightly higher than last month but Steven Gutierrez with the state's Employment Development Department says they are significant improvement from last year. "You compare it with where we were last year, just about every county is seeing a decrease in regards to the unemployment rate," said Gutierrez.