Nov. 25, 2003
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

Key economic indicators show Kern County’s economy is firmly on the rebound, according to the latest issue of the Kern Economic Journal, published by California State University, Bakersfield.

The Business Outlook Index rose for the third quarter in a row, increasing 2.5 percentage points. “This increase indicates that business managers have become more optimistic about local business conditions,” said Abbas Grammy, CSUB economics professor and publisher of the journal. “After the sharp drop of 17 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2002, the index has gained back 9.5 percentage points over the last three quarters.”

Likewise, the Bakersfield Consumer Sentiment Index rose for the second quarter in a row. Mark Evans, interim dean of CSUB’s extended University and an economics professor, said the increase was due to “modest improvements in both the current conditions and future expectations of households.

Other trends reported in the Journal that reflect the strengthening Kern economy:

  • The unemployment rate in both Kern County as a whole and in Bakersfield fell for the second straight quarter. Kern County’s unemployment rate fell from 11.4 percent in the second quarter to 10.3 percent in the third quarter. Bakersfield dropped from 8 percent to 7.5 percent between the second and third quarters.
  • Personal income increased in both Kern County and Bakersfield for the fourth quarter in a row.
  • Economic growth in both Kern County and Bakersfield, after stagnating through the first quarter of 2003, has now posted healthy gains two quarters in a row. Economic growth was up nearly 4 percent in Kern and nearly 5 percent in Bakersfield in the third quarter.

    The local trends parallel national figures. The Conference Board reported this week that nationwide consumer confidence was at its highest level in more than a year, and attributed the boost to an improving job market.

    And the U.S. Commerce Department reported this week that the U.S. economy grew an astounding 8.2 percent in the third quarter, reflecting businesses’ growing confidence.

    “All this is good news for Bakersfield and Kern County,” Grammy said.

    The latest issue of the Kern Economic Journal also includes a detailed look at the Baker Street economic development strategy, an article on maintaining a businesses’ viability with succession planning, and a look at Kern County’s economic development strategy.

    The Kern Economic Journal is a quarterly publication focusing on local economic trends and developments. The journal provides the community with economic information produced by the CSUB Economics Department. "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."

    A subscription to the Kern Economic Journal costs $60 per year for the print issue, $80 for the electronic issue, including archives; and $100 per year for both hard copy and online, including access to the archives. For a free initial copy or more information about any of the studies published in the journal, please call (661) 664-2466, or e-mail Grammy at agrammy@csub.edu. You can also visit the journal's website at www.csub.edu/kej.