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.

Economy at a Glance

The world’s largest economy of more than $16.5 trillion, the United States, grew by 1.2 percent the second quarter of 2016, at a higher clip than the first quarter of 2016 growth rate of 0.8 percent. Real GDP increased largely because of an increase in consumer spending on services, mainly accounted for by increases in spending on housing, utilities, and healthcare. The growth rate was moderated in part by a decrease in inventory and business investment, which declined quite substantially.

Tracking Kern's Economy

As the oil price has stabilized and slightly increased into the $40’s, even with increased unemployment in June of 2016 and the potential for more layoffs later this year, there was a significant increase in personal income, increasing by nearly 46%, on an annual basis, compared to the first quarter of 2016. This amounted to an increase, in total income, of nearly $3 billion. This increase was driven by sizable increases in labor income (increasing by $3.0 billion) and property income (increasing by over $130 million) during the second quarter of 2016 that offset falling business profits of over $700 million. The diversification of the Kern County economy continues to accelerate, mitigating some of the long-term oil price shocks.

Featured Articles

The Language Bonus: What CA’s Prop. 58, the Multilingual Act and Learn Initiative May Mean for Kern County Schools and Students

As discussed in a 2014 Economist article by R.L.G Berlin, the concept of the “language bonus” is the idea that knowing an additional language can yield individuals economic payoffs, such as a higher salary rate overtime. Several scholars and news sources have also made the case that learning an additional language has economic, educational, societal and cultural benefits (Anderson 2015; Deussen 2014; L.A. School Report 2016; Chau 2014). Moreover, others have demonstrated that traditional school English immersion programs may not have long term success beyond elementary school (Umansky and Reardon 2014). These arguments and findings are central to the “California Multilingual Education Act” (, also known as Proposition 58, “The LEARN Initiative” (Californians Together), which is set to be on the state’s November 8, 2016 ballot. If passed, this proposition could yield language bonuses not just for the state, but Kern County schools and students. This article proceeds with a discussion on some of the background of Prop. 58, the economic benefits of bilingual and multilingual1 education and how it relates to schools and students in Kern County.

The Resource Curse

Economic growth is dependent on the abundance of natural resources. Traditional thought concludes that when a country has a significant endowment of natural resources, it should experience economic growth. However, observations and findings from the post-World War II growth experiences and datasets contradict this conclusion. They find that natural riches tend to impede economic growth (Dunn 2008; Sachs and Warner 1995, 2001; Gylfason 2000, 2001; Papyrakis and Gerlagh, 2007). Several empirical studies, led by the seminal works of Sachs and Warner (1995, 2001), have found that considerable resource endowments tend to impede economic growth – a discovery termed as the resource curse. Natural resources are classified as point or diffuse. Point resources are those taken from a narrow geographic or economic area e.g. fuels and minerals, whereas diffuse resources span large geographic areas and they include food and agricultural products (Isham et al., 2005).

Publishers and Managing Editors

Thank you to Dr. Abbas Grammy, Founder of KEJ, for the contributions he has made to CSUB and the Kern County Community through KEJ. For more information on Dr. Grammy, please visit the link below.

KEJ Founder


Richard Gearhart

BDC 257A

Nyakundi Michieka

BDC 259A

California State University, Bakersfield
9001 Stockdale Hwy
Bakersfield, Ca 93311