In this file photo from 2018, Conrad G. Nieto checks out the Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance booth to see what programs they have to offer during the Kern County Library job fair for formerly incarcerated and others looking for jobs and other resources. At right is Alysha Douglas who is an outreach advocate in the Community Homeless Law Center Project of GBLA.

Despite a surge in farm hiring, Kern's jobless rate rose to 8.4 percent in July as the local service sector shrank and local education employment declined, according to seasonally unadjusted state data released Friday.

The county's unemployment rate was up from 8 percent in June but about even with July 2018's 8.3 percent, the state Employment Development Department reported.

Meanwhile, unemployment also edged upward in California and the nation, with the state's seasonally unadjusted rate going from 4.2 percent in June to 4.4 percent and the national rate increasing from 3.8 percent to 4 percent, the EDD said.

Kern farm labor jumped in July by 2,200 positions, or 3.3 percent. Professional and business services also increased, albeit on a smaller scale, rising by an estimated 300 jobs, or 1.1 percent.

But the EDD said services overall shed about 6,200 positions in July, or 2.6 percent. Retail, a subset of the larger services category, lost 300 positions, declining 1 percent.

Leisure and hospitality was down, too, coming in 200 positions below June's total, a decline of 0.7 percent.

The state data showed government employment in the county was off significantly in July. The sector lost 6,200 positions between June and July, or 9.2 percent. That's the same number of jobs lost in local education, which shrank by 20.1 percent.

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