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.
U.S. GDP increased at an annual rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021. In the fourth quarter of 2020, real GDP increased by 4.3 percent. The increase in first-quarter GDP reflected the continued economic recovery driven by efforts to reopen businesses and continued government response related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
The civilian labor force increased by 667 members, from 375,500 in the fourth quarter of 2020 to 376,167 in the first quarter of 2021. The labor force estimates are similar to those recorded in the first quarter of 2014 (375,130) and have been steadily increasing over the last three quarters. 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.