Kern County’s unemployment rate fell again last month, dropping more than a point to a seasonally unadjusted 6 percent, even as farming payrolls shed 1,500 positions, according to a state report out Friday.
Local education led the hiring, as has been the pattern lately. Health-care jobs were also up, as usual, while employment in restaurants and construction were down.
The California Employment Development Department estimated September's preliminary jobless rate at an even 6 percent, down from August's revised 7.3 percent and July's 8.4 percent, all expressed on a seasonally unadjusted basis. September 2018's rate was listed at 6.5 percent.
Data released Friday suggest economic improvement continues at the national and state levels, too. The national unemployment rate, an unadjusted 3.3 percent, was down from a revised 3.8 percent in August. California's rate came in at 3.5 percent in September, well below August's 4.2 percent.
In Kern, farm labor was down 2 percent month over month but up a little more than half a percent from September 2018, according to the EDD.
Employment in local construction was off by 400 jobs, month over month. That represents a 2.4 percent drop from August and a 1.8 percent decline from September 2018.
Restaurant jobs became more scarce in September, too, dropping 1.3 percent, or 300 positions. But September's 22,110 countywide total was still a 3.3 percent increase from a year earlier.
With 400 new jobs, the category of health care and social assistance posted 1 percent growth in September. The sector has expanded employment by 6.8 percent since September 2018, according to the EDD.
No category added more new positions in Kern last month than local education. Schools took on 1,800 employees in September, which represented 6.5 percent improvement. During the previous year, however, the EDD reported that part of the economy has contracted by seven-tenths of 1 percent.