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Kern's unemployment inched upward in March

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Farmworkers plant in a field along Sandrini Road in mid-March after fresh snow coated the Kern County mountains.

Kern's jobless rate rose slightly in March to reach 11.1 percent even as unemployment declined overall in the state and the nation.

The state Employment Development Department reported Friday the county's revised unemployment rate, stated on a seasonally unadjusted basis, was 10.9 percent in February, up from a revised 10.8 percent in January.

During the same period, California's seasonally unadjusted rate slid from 9.2 percent in January to 8.4 percent in February to 8.2 percent in March, according to the EDD.

The national rate has also continued to trend downward, going from 6.8 percent in January to 6.6 percent in February to 6.2 percent in March. All were seasonally unadjusted figures provided by the EDD.

Local farm employment, which typically varies throughout the year, has fallen in each of the last three months, and at 43,100 jobs ended March 26.3 percent below January's total. But year over year, last month's farm-jobs figure was still 1.7 percent higher than its level a year earlier.

Other local sectors were mixed. Construction was up 600 jobs in March, or 4.2 percent, while employment in trade, transportation and utilities fell by 300 positions, or six-tenths of 1 percent.

Kern had 1,400 fewer jobs in health care and social assistance last month as compared with February, a drop of 3.4 percent, the EDD reported. It said the classification was down just 3.9 percent year over year.

Meanwhile, employment in leisure and hospitality jumped by 700 positions since February, a 3.3 percent jobs gain that leaves the sector down 19.5 percent as compared with March 2000.

There were 500 more jobs in local government in March than in February, which represents an increase of 1.2 percent; most of that expansion was in education. The category remained 10.5 percent below its total in March 2020, the EDD reported.