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Kern Economic Journal

KERN ECONOMIC JOURNAL is a quarterly publication (February, May, August, November) of California State University, Bakersfield. Its purpose is to track local trends and analyze regional, national, and global issues that affect the economic well-being of Kern County. The journal provides useful information and data that can help the community make informed economic decisions. Sources of funding for this journal include university contributions and sponsorship and subscription fees.

Kern Economic Journal - Volume 22, Issue 4

Economy at a Glance

U.S. GDP increased at an annual rate of 33.1 percent in the third quarter of 2020. In the second quarter of 2020, real GDP decreased by 31.4 percent. The increase in the third quarter GDP reflected efforts to reopen businesses and resume activities that were restricted due to COVID-19

Tracking Kern's Economy

Labor Market

We adjust published data in three ways. First, we average monthly data to calculate quarterly data. Second, we recalculate quarterly data to take into account workers employed in the “informal” market (i.e., self-employed labor and those who work outside their county of residence). Finally, we adjust quarterly data for the effects of seasonal variations. In this issue, the impact of COVID-19 on Kern County’s economy will be quantified.

Labor Force

The civilian labor force decreased by 2,067 members, from 371,367 in the second quarter of 2020 to 369,300 in the third quarter of 2020. Historical data from 2007 indicates that civilian labor force increases between quarter two and quarter three of every year, except in 2010 when we witnessed a decrease. The labor force estimates are similar to those of the second quarter of 2013 (370,750). The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the labor force participation rate as the proportion of the working-age population that is either working or actively looking for work. Recessions tend to push labor force participation down as illustrated below.

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  • 9001 Stockdale Highway Bakersfield, CA 93311     Phone: (661) 654-2157     Fax: (661) 654-2207