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Unemployment continues to rise in Kern County

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – As our community adjusts to the changes put in place to try and combat the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of Kern County residents have been laid off. 

“Credit cards are being pretty forgiving, so we can compensate for other household necessities,” said Deena Beam, Kern resident.

Beam is a hairstylist at pure bliss in Northwest Bakersfield. She’s been out of work for over two weeks. 

“It’s hard because being a stylist we do make cash,” said Beam. “We make our grocery money, our gas money.”

Beam says thankfully her husband is still working, but she feels for other people who have lost their job and don’t have the help. 

“Me and my husband got laid off about three weeks ago,” said Erika Moreno.

Moreno worked as a pet groomer for North of the River Animal Hospital and worked at the heating and air department at Costco. Her husband worked for Consolidated Fiberglass Products in Central Bakersfield. 

“All our lives, we worked hard,” said Moreno. I was a single mom, he was a single dad when we met. We’ve always worked two to three jobs to make the bills.”

Now, unemployed, they’re struggling to pay the rent.

“It’s hard being unemployed,” said Moreno. “What people don’t see is that I’m scared, not of the disease, but of ending up homeless.”

And they’re not alone. Hundreds of Kern County residents have lost their jobs in recent weeks. and there’s still more layoffs to come. 

Employers filed 30 WARN notices to the county in march. A huge jump from the two we saw in February and zero in January. 

“The federal and state government have warned notices,” said Robin Paggi, training and development specialist. “Employers are required to notify their employees before a mass layoff or a plant closure.”

So what’s next for the employee?

“They can file for unemployment, they can apply for other jobs,” said Paggi.

P.K. Zander, director of business development with Mid Cal Labor says there is an open office, and agriculture jobs for those interested. 

“That may be something you haven’t considered, working in a warehouse or cold storage, but it may be something you would consider temporary to bring in some finances for the time being,” said Zander.

He expects people will have their jobs back as soon as businesses are allowed to open their doors. 

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