News23ABC In-Depth


Kern County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country

Posted: 3:25 PM, Oct 13, 2021
Updated: 2021-10-14 11:43:45-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Data shows Kern County has one of the highest rates of unemployment in the country. The county ranks 56 out of 58 counties in California.

Numbers show that the county could be bouncing back from the effects of the pandemic as of August 2021. The unemployment rate in Kern County is 10% lower than last month and this time last year.

“As we move forward through the year, one of the things that we want to pay attention to is the fact that the unemployment rate is improving month after month. Even considering the seasonality of industries, it definitely is a lot better than it was a year ago considering 2020 was a strange year if you will,” said Rosendo Flores, Labor Market Consultant, Employment Development Department.

People are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the past 4 weeks, or are expected to return to work after being laid off or furloughed, and are currently available to work.
Bureau of Labor Statistics

“The unemployment rate is captured through a household survey. So, that is a survey that goes out to households, and that’s how the unemployment rate is captured. The employment data is captured through an establishment survey, so that’s a business survey or employer survey, and that’s how the employment data is captured,” said Flores.

In July, data showed the unemployment rate in the county was 10.7%. Employment grew by over 15,000 jobs over the next month.

“Kern County’s government sector led the month-over increase with the addition of 2,900 jobs. The entire gain was recorded in local government education as schools resumed from the summer recess,” said Flores.

Farm jobs increased by almost 10,000 over the month before. But, with how seasonal the jobs are here in Kern, Flores explained that fluctuations with the unemployment rate happen throughout the year.

“As trends follow, it usually falls, it usually falls in August, and it also falls in September,” said Flores. “And as we go into the winter months, the unemployment will begin to have an uptick only because the seasonal aspect of industries in which employers lay off workers for the season.”

But the unemployment rate has remained pretty steady so far this year.

“For the unemployment rate to be 10% in August in Kern County, three percentage points lower than it was a year ago, still slightly higher than 2019 but it looks as though the county is regaining a lot of the jobs that may have been lost in 2020. So, the signs show that we are working our way in a positive direction in Kern County,” said Rosendo Flores, Labor Market Consultant, Employment Development Department.