Kern Economic Journal

The Kern Economic Journal is a quarterly publication (February, May, August, and November). Its purpose is to track and analyze economic trends that affect the well-being of Kern County. In doing so, the journal provides primary data on consumer confidence and business outlook as well as secondary data on a wide range of economic indicators. These data help the community make more informed decisions. Sources of funding for the journal include university contributions and sponsorship fees.

Economy at a Glance

The world’s largest economy of more than $16.5 trillion, the United States, grew by 0.5 percent, but at a much slower rate than the real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate from the fourth quarter of 2015, where real GDP grew by a modest 1.4 percent. Real GDP increased largely because of an increase in consumer spending on services, mainly accounted for by increases in spending on housing, utilities, and healthcare. The growth rate was moderated in part by a decrease in spending on durable goods, notably on motor vehicles and parts, as well as a decrease in federal government spending (for the most part on national defense).

Tracking Kern's Economy

With further declines of oil prices and layoffs continuing to affect regional oil companies (along with proposed decreases in oil employment for 2016), there was a sizable decrease in personal income, increasing by 37.89%, on an annual basis, compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. This amounted to a decrease, in total income, of nearly $3 billion. This decrease was largely driven by sizable decreases in labor income (falling by $2.5 billion) and property income (falling by nearly $14 million) during the first quarter of 2016. This means that the long-term oil price affects are starting to impact a variety of sectors in Kern County.


Lamentably, Kern County often ranks as one of the poorest providers of healthcare in the country. The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWIPHI) has ranked Kern County, in terms of health outputs (what our health conditions look like) and health inputs (the healthcare providers and resources available to consumers) as some of the worst in California.[1] In fact, Kern County ranks 52nd in outcomes and 57th (or dead last) in health inputs. This highlights some rather disturbing trends. Not only is our population in ill health, but the county does not have the healthcare resources to alleviate these issues.

Featured Article: Economic and Fiscal Impact: California State University, Bakersfield

California State University, Bakersfield, a comprehensive regional institution of higher education, exerts a $1.6 billion impact on the economy of Kern County.  CSUB expenditures in the local economy occur in various forms: operating expenses, construction outlays, student spending, visitor spending, and retirement spending.  Local expenditures of $328.4 million expands to $505.3 in total output impact.

In addition to local expenditures, CSUB contributes $1.1 billion to the local economy in a less obvious, yet equally important, manner. As a comprehensive regional university, CSUB helps improve quality of life in the community.  The university also supplies an educated workforce to fill high-paying jobs, thus increasing the earnings power of its graduates. Furthermore, presence of the university increases the levels of educational attainment and labor productivity of the city and region. The reason for this intangible effect is that knowledge and expertise are more easily and readily transferred when educated workers interact with each other, hence increasing productivity in the workplace.

Publishers and Managing Editors

Thank you to Dr. Abbas Grammy, Founder of KEJ, for the contributions he has made to CSUB and the Kern County Community through KEJ. For more information on Dr. Grammy, please visit the link below.

KEJ Founder


Richard Gearhart

BDC 257A

Nyakundi Michieka

BDC 259A

California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Hwy
Bakersfield, Ca 93311