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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.

Kern Economic Journal: 2015 4th Quarter

Economy at a Glance!

The United States economy has grown at a modest rate with falling unemployment and declining average prices. The Gross Domestic Product increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter from 5.0 percent in the third quarter.  The rate of unemployment dropped to 5.7 from 6.1 percent and the rate of inflation for the cost of living slowed from 1.1 to -1.2 percent …

Kern County Business Still Confident

Results of the Business Outlook Survey indicate that business perceptions are less optimistic about local employment and financial conditions.  The Business Outlook Index, while remaining in the optimistic range, dropped to 116 in the fourth quarter from 122 in the previous quarter.  Local business managers are concerned about sudden and rapid drop in oil prices and…

Bakersfield Households Not Optimistic

Results of the Consumer Sentiment Survey indicate that household perceptions remained pessimistic about employment and financial conditions of their families and relatives. The Bakersfield Consumer Sentiment slipped to 93 in the fourth quarter after reaching 95 in the third quarter.  In this survey, 42 percent of respondents said it is a risky time to use savings or incur debt to buy expensive items…

Tracking Kern’s Economy

Kern County’s economy remained stable with a small reduction in personal income.  The local economy generated $30.7 billion in real personal income, $10 million less than the previous quarter.  Also, the rate of unemployment dropped slightly to 10.3 percent. While below the county average, the rate of unemployment averaged 5.3 percent in Ridgecrest, 5.9 percent in Tehachapi, and 6.5 percent in Bakersfield.  Unexpectedly, housing market conditions weakened in the fourth quarter. The county’s median sales price for all residential units depreciated $1,800 (or 0.9 percent) to reach $190,200. Meanwhile, 2,735 homes were sold, 519 housing permits were issued, and 442 notices of loan default were delivered…

Reasons for Falling Oil Prices

As oil prices continue to plunge, I tried to find reasons for such a sudden and rapid decline.  Looking at data, I found that between December 2013 and December 2014, the Brent spot price per barrel dropped $48.42 (or 44 percent) from $110.76 to $62.34.  I also noted that this price decline is unlikely to stop any time soon because of the excess-supply of oil in the market, the OPEC’s decision to maintain production, and Saudi Arabia’s action to deprive the Iranian government of much needed oil revenue that pays for Iran’s nuclear build-up…  

Publisher and Managing Editor

Abbas P. Grammy
Professor of Economics

(661) 654-2466

California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Hwy.
Bakersfield, CA.  93311