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Kern jobless rate at historic lows
 
  November 28, 2005
CONTACT:
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138,
jloveless@csub.edu

Kern County’s unemployment rate tumbled to historic lows during the third quarter 2005, according to the latest issue of the Kern Economic Journal, published by California State University, Bakersfield.

The county’s jobless rate registered 7.6 percent for the quarter ending Sept. 30, marking the first time in at least a quarter century that anyone could remember that the figure had been that low. Historically the county’s jobless rate has fluctuated between 10 percent and 13 percent. The jobless rate was a further decline from the second quarter’s 8.4 percent, and has been under 10 percent for more than a year.

“This is clear evidence that the county’s long efforts to diversify its economy are succeeding,” said Abbas Grammy, professor of applied economics at CSUB and publisher of the Kern Economic Journal. “While oil and agriculture are still extremely important to our local economy, they are no longer the only factors. This is good news for Kern County.”

To be sure, some of the county’s historically high jobless areas still have high unemployment rates, such as Delano (20.5 percent), Arvin (21.2 percent) and McFarland (16.2 percent). But these areas are more than offset by Bakersfield’s solid 5.2 percent jobless rate, in line with the overall state rate, and other areas that are economically robust, such as Ridgecrest (4.1 percent), Tehachapi (4.9 percent) and Lebec (3.2 percent).

The jobless rate also was reflected in Business Outlook Index, which climbed 5 points to 139, marking the fourth consecutive quarter that the index has increased, and surpassing the high-water mark set in the third quarter 2004. The index reflects that businesses are generally bullish on Kern County’s economy.

Meanwhile, the Bakersfield Consumer Sentiment Index, which had been at record levels for three straight quarters, plunged 38 points to 110. Mark Evans, CSUB applied economics professor who conducts the survey, attributed the drop to the effects of hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

The latest issue of the Kern Economic Journal also includes a profile of Keith Brice, president and CEO of Mid State Development Corp.; an analysis of the “Financial Impacts of Meadows Field Airport on Kern County,” by CSUB economics student Daniel R. Alvarado; and a look at the “Economic Impacts of Nonprofit Organizations on Kern County,” by Chandra Commuri, professor of public administration at CSUB.

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) 654-2466, or e-mail Grammy at agrammy@csub.edu. You can also visit the journal's website at www.csub.edu/kej.

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