Kern County adds more jobs but unemployment remains at 18%


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Kern County added jobs in May, but the unemployment rate still remains in the double digits.

Specifically, Kern saw a net increase of 3,900 jobs last month, bringing the unemployment rate down from 18.7 percent in April to 18.3 percent, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The farm industry, which historically sees an increase in jobs during this time of year, saw the highest net increase with an addition of 2,400 jobs. The Leisure and hospitality increased 1,600 jobs, and mining, logging, and construction, which includes the oil industry, increased by 1,500 jobs.

Still, kern’s unemployment rate is higher than the state’s rate of 15.9 percent and the nation’s rate of 13 percent. In fact, some cities in the Golden Empire are seeing unemployment figures above 30 percent.

In Bakersfield, the unemployment rate stands at 17 percent, and in ridgecrest, at just over 6 and half percent.

Of the kern sectors that lost jobs, local government saw the worst with a reduction of 4,200 jobs, and the financial activities sector saw a loss of 100 jobs.

Shred Waite, CEO and co-owner of the MoneyWise Guys, shared what the latest figures mean for the local economy.

“We had an improvement in the unemployment numbers. That’s the good news,” he said. “The bad news is we’re at a historic low. We’re even above the peak in unemployment we saw in 2010,” Waite continued.

On that note, Waite said the latest numbers are encouraging, but he stressed economic recovery will not happen immediately.

“It’s going to take some time. As we start to see these new unemployment numbers come as we see the worst damage is behind us, we have to remember that it’s still damaged. In order for it repair, we need to see really really big decreases in the unemployment rate if we want to have a quick recovery.”

June unemployment numbers are expected to be released next month.

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