Defying the Odds, Bakersfield Booms

California's Central Valley was one of the areas hardest hit by the Great Recession, with several of its cities still burdened by the worst unemployment rates in the country. Signs in Bakersfield, however, point to a burgeoning boom.

According to Ricardo Lopez, the mid-size Central Valley city best known for oil, agriculture and country music, is becoming a boomtown, with employment and population growing at a brisk pace. Lopez attributes the city's good fortune to, "A price-fueled energy bonanza, low corporate operating costs and an advantageous location." With government spending up, corporations expanding into the area, and the number of jobs just shy of peak levels, the area is on an upward trend.

"But despite these gains," notes Lopez, "county economic planners say Bakersfield is still hindered by a variety of weaknesses. Among them, they say, many outsiders view the city as little more than a dusty industrial and agriculture town near an interstate."

A poorly educated workforce is another challenge. That's why Richard Chapman, president of the Kern County Economic Development Corp., believes that, "Developing residents' skills is a priority to ensure that employment growth is more widespread and includes well-paying jobs for area residents."

"The only thing that can stop us," Chapman said, "is the availability of the workforce." 

Full Story: Many signs point to a Bakersfield boom

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Book cover of Where Things Are from Near to Far

Where Things Are From Near to Far

This engaging children's book about planning illustrates that "every building has its place."
$19.95
Red necktie with map of Boston

Tie one on to celebrate your city

Choose from over 20 styles of neckties imprinted with detailed city or transit maps.
$44.95