New state data show Kern County's unemployment rate jumped from 12.9 percent in December to 14.1 percent in January as employers shed 13,200 jobs in categories from farming and retail to management and education.
January numbers released Friday morning by the state Employment Development Department nevertheless represent improvement over January 2012, when the county's jobless rate stood at 15 percent.
California's unemployment rate was 10.4 percent in January, and the nation's was 8.5 percent, the department reported.
Some of the county-level employment changes appear to be seasonal, considering what industries were affected most.
Proportionately, Kern's biggest losses were in management (17.2 percent, or 500 lost jobs), farming (14.7 percent, or 8,000 jobs), state-level education (14.3 percent, or 200 jobs), clothes and clothing accessory retailers (13 percent, or 300 jobs) and department stores (10 percent, or 500 jobs).
Nineteen of California's 58 counties had unemployment rates higher than Kern's in January. The state's highest rate was Colusa County's 27.7 percent, which represented 3,240 jobless. By comparison, Kern had 55,900 workers without a job that month, the state reported.
Los Angeles County's unemployment rate was pegged at 10.9 percent, while Fresno County's was 16 percent. San Luis Obispo County's jobless rate was 7.5 percent, and Inyo County's was 9.6 percent, the state reported.