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Merced County unemployment jumps to 18.9 percent

Valley unemployment rates surge in JanuaryThursday, Mar. 05, 2009By Tim Sheehan / The Fresno Bee

Unemployment in the central San Joaquin Valley lurched upward more than two percentage points from December to January as the number of people working fell in almost every sector.

The jobless rate in Merced County hit 18.9 percent in January, according to figures released this morning by the state Employment Development Department. That's up from December's 15.7 %, and 13.4% in January 2008.

Statewide, unemployment reached 10.6% for the month. The national unemployment rate was 8.5%.

Similar increases were noted in Fresno, Madera, and Tulare counties.

Madera County: 13.1% in January, up from 11.3% in December and 9.0% in January 2008.

Fresno County: 15.7% in January, up from December's 13.3%, and 10.6% in January 2008.

Kings County: 15.6% in January, up from 13.1% in December and 11.4% in January 2008.

Tulare County: 16.2% in January, up from 13.8% in December and 11.1% in January 2008.

Keep checking for updates, or read the story in Friday's newspaper.