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AP Photo/Richard Drew

Traders George Ettinger, left, and Robert Oswald work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Friday, March 7, 2014. Stocks were wavering between small gains and losses early Friday after the government reported a pickup in hiring last month as well as a slight increase in the unemployment rate as more people started looking for work.

Kern's unemployment rate jumped more than a point to an unadjusted 12.3 percent in January as local employers in agriculture, services, government, retail and hospitality shed thousands of jobs after the holidays.

Up from a revised 10.9 percent in December, the county's jobless rate compared unfavorably with the state's 8.5 percent and the nation's 7 percent in January, both seasonally unadjusted.

Overall, county payrolls declined by 9,000 jobs, or 2.9 percent, according to the department.

On the bright side, some 400 construction jobs were created in January, the state Employment Development Department reported Friday.

But such hiring wasn't nearly enough to offset the widespread pain evidenced in the latest state data:

* The county's total farm employment declined by 5,200 jobs, or 9.3 percent;

* Service providers let go 3,900 workers, or about 2 percent of their workforce;

* A separate, generalized category known as "other services" posted 1,500 layoffs, or 2.5 percent of its workforce;

* State and local government let go 1,400 workers overall, or 2.8 percent of their combined employment base;

* Retailers dismissed 800 employees, or 2.6 percent of their ranks;

* Administrative, support and waste services lost 600 jobs, or 4.7 percent of their total;

* Educational and health services declined by 300 positions, or about 1 percent;

* Employment in food services and drinking establishments fell by 300 jobs, or 1.6 percent;

* Nondurable goods manufacturers, including food processors, laid off 200 people, or 1.4 percent of their total workforce.