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Kern unemployment rate improves to 10.1 percent on farm hiring surge

20200629-bc-Grapes

Jasmine Vineyards employees work at thinning grapes on the vine in this file photo from June 2020.

Kern County’s jobless rate improved in May to 10.1 percent from a revised 10.6 percent in April, and as usual, the biggest change was a month-over-month fluctuation in local farm employment — in this case the addition of 5,500 jobs.

Seasonally unadjusted figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department showed a nearly 7-point drop in local joblessness during the previous year, which was about a point less than the improvement reflected in the state and nation's unemployment rates in May, which settled at 7.5 percent and 5.5 percent, respectively.

After Kern farming's 9.8 percent growth in May, the largest change in local employment took place in the local service sector, which grew by 2,200 jobs, or 1 percent.

The employment category of trade, transportation and utilities added 400 jobs (0.7 percent). Retail employment shrank by 300 jobs (1 percent), while health care and social assistance took on an additional 400 positions (1.1 percent).

Also in May, employment in local education expanded by 800 jobs, or 2.8 percent.

Coronavirus Cases widget

  • Positive Cases Among Kern Residents: 158,009

  • Deaths: 1,814

  • Recovered and Presumed Recovered Residents: 150,579 

  • Percentage of all cases that are unvaccinated: 92.04

  • Percentage of all hospitalizations that are unvaccinated: 92.61