Kern’s unemployment rate continued its gradual climb in January, rising to a seasonally unadjusted 10.7 percent from a revised 10.4 percent in December and registering its fourth consecutive monthly increase after what had been an encouraging downward trend.
According to state figures released Friday, the county gained 1,500 farming jobs in January but shed more than twice that many positions in a range of fields, including oil and gas, food manufacturing, retail, restaurants and local education.
By comparison, California’s seasonally unadjusted rate edged up slightly to 5.8 percent from a revised 5.7 percent in December. The national rate, also unadjusted for seasonal variations, was up to 5.3 percent in January from 4.8 percent the month before.
Kern’s oil and gas industry employed an estimated 9,800 people in January, down 500 jobs, or about 5 percent, from December. In January 2015, the county had 12,300 petroleum jobs, the state Employment Development Department reported.
The month following the holiday season also saw the loss of 1,200 retail jobs, or 3.5 percent; 400 restaurant positions (2 percent); 300 in the category of administrative and support and waste services (2.4 percent); and 200 in food manufacturing (3.3 percent). Additionally, 700 people lost their jobs in local education, a decline of 2.4 percent.
There were notable gains in areas such as financial activities, which registered 200 new jobs, or 2.4 percent. Local government employment outside education also reported adding 200 positions, an increase of 1.4 percent.