Pre-holiday retail and hospitality hiring helped Kern's economy keep pace with an expanded workforce last month, leaving the county's jobless rate unchanged at 10.3 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis, the state reported Friday.

The report by California's Employment Development Department signaled significant improvement from November 2012's 11.8 percent.

California's unemployment rate, also unadjusted for seasonal swings, held at 8.3 percent, while the national figure declined from 7 percent in October to 6.6 percent, the department stated.

Across Kern County, public and private sector employers created 2,500 jobs in November -- 900 of them in the clothing and general merchandise stores, and 200 in food services and drinking establishments. Farm employment shrank by 300, or half of 1 percent.

Professional and business services added 300 jobs in the county, while local government brought on an additional 400 education employees, the EDD reported. Construction firms shed a net 100 jobs.

Kern's civilian labor force expanded in November by 4,000 people, or about 1 percent. The number of people with jobs grew by 1 percent, while those without increased by 1.5 percent.