Kern posts job gain in February despite seasonal losses in agriculture | News

Kern’s economy posted a strong overall performance in February with a half-point drop in the county’s unemployment rate despite a sharp seasonal decline in agriculture.

The California Department of Employment Development reported Kern’s unemployment rate sank to a seasonally adjusted 8.3 percent last month, landing well below the 11.9 percent the county experienced a year higher. early.

The fact that several local sectors have added hundreds of jobs each is particularly encouraging. County Assistant Administrator for Economic Development and Workforce Teresa Hitchcock called it a sign that the local economy is diversifying as it recovers from the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.

“As we see some of this diversity kick in, we should see less seasonality in our employment,” she said.

Kern’s improvement in February coincided with gains at the state and national level: California’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent from 5.5 percent in January, while the The country’s unemployment slipped to 4.1 percent in February from 4.4 percent the previous month. Figures are not seasonally adjusted.

Agricultural employment, traditionally the biggest driver of Kern employment, lost 2,500 positions between January and February, the JED reported. It was a 4.4 percent decline month over month, but a 1.1 percent increase over the prior year.

No job classification outperformed local education, as farming tends to fluctuate with the seasons. The sector added 1,600 jobs in February, an increase of 5.4 percent from January and a jump of 11 percent from February to 2021.

Five other local classifications added several hundred jobs each in February, led by administrative and support and waste services. He accumulated a net gain of 500 positions, or 4.2% in one month. Year over year, the improvement came to just under 1 percent.

Four Kern sectors recorded net increases of 400 new positions in February: construction, restaurants, ambulatory health care and a job classification that encompasses transportation, warehousing and utilities.

Gains in construction amounted to a 2.7% improvement from January. For restaurants, the 400 jobs added represent a gain of 1.8 per cent. For ambulatory health care services, the increase represented an increase of 2.7%. It boosted employment by 1.9% in transportation, warehousing and utilities.

Hitchcock noted the JED report made a 0.4 percent increase in the county’s civilian workforce, or 1,600 positions.

“I think (the state summary) really shows that the economy is opening up,” Hitchcock said, adding that having more people joining the workforce bodes well locally in the face of the challenges of the supply chain.

Kern County Training Resources Employers stands ready to help anyone who is unemployed gain access to local employment and training opportunities. The phone number is 661-325-HIRE from the agency (4473).

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