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Kern’s unemployment rate increases to 18.6%

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern’s unemployment rate increased to 18.6 percent in April, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The spike represents a 46.9 percent increase since March, when the unemployment rate stood at 12.1 percent, and a 121.6 percent increase since April 2019.

34,800 job layoffs occurred between March 2020, and April 2020, leading Kern’s unemployment rate standing more than two percentage points higher than the state’s rate of 16 percent.

Locally, leisure and hospitality took the greatest hit with a loss of 11,000 jobs, including 9,900 in the accommodations and food services sector.

The healthcare and social assistance sector was not immune, losing 7,100 jobs. Moreover, the farm industry saw a loss of 4,600 jobs, and the trade, transportation, and utilities sector experienced 4,100 layoffs, of which more than half account for retail.

Local government saw a decline of 2,300 jobs, and mining and logging, which includes Kern’s oil economy, was down 800 jobs.

David Anderson, managing partner with Money Wise Wealth Management, appeared on 17 News at Sunrise before the figures were officially released. As Kern County moves further into phase 2, he explained the very real possibility that some businesses will stay closed for good.

“It’s great that we can partially open,” he said. “But so many of these businesses operate on vey small margins. So if you you have to cut down who can come into your establishment by 15 or 25 percent, that just might mean businesses don’t make it….I think we’re going to see how many close down over the next month or two, [and] we’ll start to see what the damage really is.”

No sector in Kern added jobs during the month of April, but the information sector, which includes journalism and media, saw a net increase of 0 jobs.

The May jobs report is expected to be released by the state next month.

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