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Kern's unemployment rate falls to 7.5% amid hiring at schools, stores

2021 Black Friday Best Buy

Shoppers enter the Northwest Promenade's Best Buy at 5 a.m. on Black Friday in hopes of securing deals. The line was much shorter than in previous years.

Kern’s unemployment rate improved by almost a full point in November to hit a seasonally unadjusted 7.4 percent as hiring in education and retail helped make up for payroll cuts at local farms, restaurants, construction sites and manufacturers, according to data the state released Friday.

The figures from California's Employment Development Department continued a positive trend in the county. A year prior, Kern unemployment stood at an even 9 percent in November 2020; it went from 8.7 percent in September to 8.3 percent in October.

Statewide unemployment also improved to a seasonally unadjusted 5.4 percent in November, down from 6.1 percent in October and 8.3 percent in November 2020.

Nationwide, joblessness was pegged at 3.9 percent in November; it was 4.3 percent in October and 6.4 percent in November 2020.

Local farming, which typically figures heavily into Kern's employment picture, shed 700 jobs, or about 1 percent. Still, the county's ag payrolls were up more than 5 percent year over year in November, according to the EDD.

There were 300 fewer construction jobs in November than in October, a decline of almost 2 percent. Manufacturing was off about 200 jobs, a drop of 1.6 percent.

Jobs in local hospitality such as restaurants and entertainment venues became more scarce as well, with employment in that general category coming in at 1,200 fewer positions than in October. That's a drop of 4.3 percent in one month.

But ahead of the holiday shopping season, retail employment rose 2.2 percent, or 700 jobs. At the same time, hiring in local education picked up by 4.4 percent, or 1,200 positions.

Employment at local hospitals was flat in November though down 3.7 percent year over year, the EDD data suggested.