This tilt-up office building under construction at the northeast corner of Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road measures two stories and 40,000 square feet total. Interior work is more tedious than the relatively fast tilt-up construction used early in the building's construction.

Joblessness in Kern County rose only slightly in October to a seasonally unadjusted 6.6 percent as the local economy continued to perform near its highest level since the housing bubble burst in 2006.

Data released Friday by the state Employment Development Department show the county's unemployment rate rising one-tenth of a percent from September's revised 6.5 percent. In October of 2017 the rate was 7.3 percent.

California's overall jobless rate also edged up by 0.1 percent to reach an unadjusted 4 percent, while the nation's rate declined by one-tenth of a percent to hit 3.5 percent.

Farm labor in Kern fell to 72,400 jobs, a decline of 1.5 percent. Goods producing industries such as construction and manufacturing registered a modest overall increase of 400 jobs, or 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, services industries including health care and hospitality added 2,000 jobs, an expansion of almost 1 percent. Government employment grew by 2.8 percent, gaining a total of 1,800 jobs.

Kern Federal Credit Union will soon become Strata Credit Union.

The Feb. 1 name change is not the result of a merger or acquisition, KFCU emphasized with Friday's announcement. Rather, it is intended to eliminate confusion (KFCU is distinct from Kern Schools Federal Credit Union, also based in Bakersfield) and to prepare the 21,000-member institution for growth as it enters its 70th year.

"We chose the name Strata because it is distinctive, memorable and suggests a smarter, more community-minded banking choice," Sales and Membership Vice President Jennifer Brucker said in a news release.

"Like our membership and community," she continued, "(s)trata are a foundation whose strength is composed of its many parts."

Bakersfield law firm Brumfield & Hagan LLP was dissolved Nov. 1 and replaced by Hagan Law Group LLP.

The firm said in a news release Friday the change is "due to the collective desires of our current partnership to pursue alternative ventures." It added that terms and conditions of its legal representation for clients remains the same, as do its office address and phone number: "The only change is the name of the firm."

Table grape breeder Sheehan Genetics LLC wants local growers to know it has gone free-agent.

Although the Fresno-area company will continue to work with authorized customers Wonderful Nurseries of Wasco and Casa Cristal Nursery of Delano, it announced this week it is free to license out its grape varieties with the expiration of a 14-year exclusive agreement with Porterville's Williams Nurseries.

"We are grateful to Williams for all their help and support over the years," Sheehan Director Duncan Macintyre said in a news release dated Wednesday, "but now it is time for us to control our own business in the U.S., as we do elsewhere in the world, where we already have some 50,000 acres of our varieties planted.

"We continue to invest heavily in our breeding program," he continued, "and look forward to bringing many more innovative new varieties to market over the coming years."

Sheehan grape varieties include those known as Ivory, Sugar Crunch, Allison, Great Green, Green Emerald, Timpson, Krissy, Timco and Magenta.

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