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Henry A. Barrios / The Californian

A field is irrigated in an area near Panama Lane and Fairfax Road southwest of Bakersfield. The drought in California is a threat to California agriculture.

A jump in farm hiring brought down Kern County's unemployment rate to 11.4 percent last month from a revised 13.1 percent in March, the state reported Friday.

The 20 percent surge in farm employment, which tends to be seasonal, accounted for 8,000 of the 8,900 net jobs created last month, the California Employment Development Department reported.

The state's jobless rate declined to 7.3 percent in April from 8.4 percent the month before, on a seasonally unadjusted basis, the lowest unemployment rate in six years. The nation's unadjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent last month from 6.8 percent in April.

The state posted a net gain of 56,100 jobs from March to April, most notably among health care and education industries, but also in construction, financial services, hospitality and mining.

The state estimated that in Kern County, professional and business services shed 300 positions and construction lost 200 jobs, as did local education.

Retail trade created 800 new jobs in April, ahead of the next strongest employment category of accommodation and food services, which added 400 positions.