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Kern sees increase in unemployment numbers

Local News

BAKERSFIELD, Calif (KGET) — If you no longer have a job, you’re not alone. More than 10,000 people in Kern County lost their jobs in March, according to figures released by the state Friday.

Specifically, Kern County saw a loss of 10,100 jobs in March, according to the California Employment Development Department.

The department announced Kern’s unemployment rate from 9.1 percent in February 2020 to 12 percent in March of 2020. The figures are an increase from the March 2019 Kern unemployment rate of 9.6 percent.

The figures included a loss of 200 jobs in construction, 400 in retail, and 700 in hospitality, including 600 directly connected to restaurants. However, the agriculture industry felt the impacts the hardest.

Some of the job losses were anticipated during this time of year, as the harvest for many citrus fruits and vine pruning are concluding.

However, while many of these job losses are seasonal, March 2020 saw higher agricultural job losses than the same time last year. In March 2019, more than 6,000 farm jobs were lost, but in March 2020, that number stands at 9,300 — 3,300 more than last year.

These numbers are from a job survey in mid-March and do not reflect huge job losses so far in April, but job Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act notices obtained by 17 News suggest more than 4,700 people in Kern County have lost their jobs so far in April.

David Anderson, managing partner with the Moneywise Guys, shared his thoughts about when the economy could rebound.

“It’s just been staggering how many job losses we’ve seen,” he said on 17 News at Sunrise.”You don’t just turn on the economy. Once coronavirus goes away — which we don’t know when that’s going to be — it’s not like everyone is going to have the confidence to just run right out there and go to a restaurant. People are still going to be very, very cautious. So I think we need to understand this is going to take time.”

The government sector was the only entity in Kern which reported an increase in jobs; 600 jobs were added in total. Of those, the majority were jobs in field of education.

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