AUG. 24, 2001
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456; mstepanovich@csub.edu

Kern Economic Journal reports positive trends for valley

Kern County’s economy got a triple dose of good news in the second quarter 2001. The Business Outlook Index and the Consumer Sentiment Index both increased while the unemployment rate dipped below 10 percent, the latest issue of the Kern Economic Journal, published by the Center for Economic Education and Research at California State University, Bakersfield, reported.

In an era where the national economy is a bit soft, the news bodes well for Kern County, said Abbas Grammy, CSUB economics professor and editor of the Kern Economic Journal. “This is a very positive development,” Grammy said. “Area residents should be encouraged by this news.”

Among highlights of the quarter that ended June 30:

• The Business Outlook Index increased nearly 10 points to 126.3, indicating that business managers are more optimistic about local business conditions. “Sixty percent of business managers perceived that financial conditions of their companies improved in the second quarter, and projected improvements in the third quarter,” said Grammy, who conducted the study.

• The Bakersfield Consumer Sentiment Index rose seven points to 119 in the second quarter, indicating strengthening consumer confidence. “More than 50 percent of survey respondents expected their financial situation to improve over the next six months,” said Mark Evans, economics professor and interim dean of CSUB’s Extended University Division.

• Kern County’s unemployment rate dipped to 9.9 percent in the quarter from 10.1 percent. The rate is significant since Kern County, as one of the eight San Joaquin Valley counties, is impacted by the seasonal effects of farm jobs. Grammy reported that while Kern’s labor force increased by 3,700 in the second quarter, total employment rose by 6,500.

The Kern Economic Journal is a quarterly publication focusing on local economic trends and developments. Grammy, chairman of CSUB's economics department, directs the Center for Economic Education and Research and is the journal's editor. Jeff Johnson, director of the Weill Institute Small Business Development Center, also serves on the journal's editorial board.

The journal provides the community with economic information produced by the center. "What we provide is local economic news," Grammy said. "This helps local business people make better decisions. We study local economic trends to determine how the local economy is progressing."

Other articles in the latest issue include the first of a two-part series on urban sprawl and the urbanization of Bakersfield by CSUB economics professor Sriram Khe, and reports on Kern County’s population growth and air quality in Kern County.

A subscription to the Kern Economic Journal costs $40 per year. For a free initial copy or more information about any of the studies published in the journal, please call the Center for Economic Education and Research at 661/664-2460. You can also visit the journal's website at www.csub.edu/kej.

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