The unemployment rate in Imperial County dropped 5.2 percent this January compared to January 2001 even while the rate has increased across the state and nation.
In January 2001 the unemployment rate in Imperial County was 21.7 percent. This January the rate was 16.5 percent, according to the California Employment Development Department.
That means of 55,700 county residents of legal age to work, 46,500 were working and 9,200 were unemployed.
The state's most recent unemployment rate was 6.7 percent. In January 2001 the rate was 5.2 percent.
Across the nation the unemployment rate in January was 6.3 percent. In January 2001 the rate was 4.7 percent.
"The rate drop can mean a number of things. I am assuming the bulk of the reduction may have been an increase in past retail sales, service, industry," said Louis Fuentes Imperial Valley Economic Development Corp. president.
"Because we've had a history of unemployment, people are branching out to vocational trades, technical skills they can apply in other areas," he added.