DATE: SEPT. 8, 2003
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich at 661/664-2456 or mstepanovich@csub.edu

Kern County’s economy is showing signs of improvement, according to the latest issue of the Kern Economic Journal, published by California State University, Bakersfield.

“Businesses and households are cautiously optimistic about current and future economic conditions,” said Abbas Grammy, CSUB economics professor and publisher of the journal. “The economy has created additional total and per capita income, and lower mortgage rates have fueled the housing demand, resulting in higher home prices and greater construction activity.”

Grammy also noted that inflation has remained low, and investors are recovering from earlier losses in the stock market.

In other trends reported in the Journal: • The Business Outlook Index continued to move upward in the second quarter of 2003 after bottoming out in the fourth quarter of 2002. "The increase indicates that business managers have become slightly optimistic about local business conditions," Grammy said.

• Bakersfield's Consumer Sentiment Index rebounded sharply in the second quarter. “The increase was due to greater optimism about the future rather than to improvement over the recent past,” said economics professor Mark Evans. “This is clearly good news.”

The latest issue also includes a detailed look at the impact of the state budget crisis on Kern County’s budget, an assessment of “Clean Air and Job Creation in the San Joaquin Valley,” a labor-market assessment of Kern County, and a look at Edwards Air Force Base’s impact on Kern County’s economy.

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, and $85 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 kej