Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- November 30, 2001
Kern County Businesses Are Much Less Optimistic About Local
Economic Conditions According To A Survey From The Center For Economic
Education And Research At CSU, Bakersfield
Kern County businesses are much less optimistic about local economic
conditions than they were just a few months ago, according to a survey
in the latest issue of the Kern Economic Journal, published by the Center
for Economic Education and Research at California State University, Bakersfield.
The quarterly Kern Business Outlook Survey showed an 11-point plunge in
the Business Outlook Index in the quarter ending Sept. 30. Factors contributing
to pessimism are:
- Economic effects of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
- Personal security and safety considerations in air travel.
- Reduced consumer spending in anticipation of a recession.
- Seasonality of production in agriculture.
- Merger of Chevron and Texaco, which could mean local job losses.
"The sizeable decline indicates that business managers are much
less optimistic about local business conditions," said Abbas Grammy,
CSUB economics professor and editor of the Kern Economic Journal. "Compared
with a year ago, the index plunged 14 points, indicating considerable
erosion in business optimism."
Likewise, the Bakersfield Consumer Sentiment Index plunged to 94 in the
third quarter from a robust 119 in the second quarter. "This is the
lowest attained value in the history of the index," said economic
professor Mark Evans, who conducted the study.
Not all the news was bad though. Kern County's unemployment rate continued
to fall, declining from 9.9 percent to 9.4 percent between the second
and third quarters. That's significant in a county that traditionally
has a double-digit jobless rate, Grammy said.
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
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 second part of economics professor Sriram Khe's examination of
the urbanization of Kern County.
- A story by Jeffrey Johnson, director of the Weill Institute Small
Business Development Center, that says the county's rapid population
growth makes it imperative that the county create high paying jobs and
reduce the unemployment rate to single digits.
- A story by Sheryl Barbich, president of Integrated Knowledge Group,
Inc., that says the county is faced with a two-pronged challenge: to
create jobs for the unemployed, and to attract and grow businesses that
will generate higher income levels.
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.