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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 7:20 PM
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Many signs point to a Bakersfield boom

Many signs point to a Bakersfield boom


September 9, 2012

By Ricardo Lopez

Read More: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-f...847,full.story

Quote:
.....

The state's economic recovery has largely been concentrated on the coast, leaving behind much of the hard-hit San Joaquin Valley. But Bakersfield, perhaps best known for oil, agriculture and country music, has reclaimed an old title: boomtown.

- Bakersfield has been adding population and jobs at a brisk pace and is a few thousand jobs from matching its peak employment level of five years ago. A price-fueled energy bonanza, low corporate operating costs and an advantageous location are contributing to the area's good fortune. Employment has grown across many sectors, including manufacturing. Even construction, which suffered mightily statewide during the housing bust, has strengthened. And unlike many struggling municipalities, in Kern County officials have recommended a budget increase that would allow hiring of more than 150 people.

- Roads and highways are getting face-lifts. And several corporations have moved operations to the area. These and other projects have given Bakersfield something to boast about. It leads the country in year-over-year construction employment growth, with payrolls swelling by almost 23% since July 2011. By comparison, state construction employment grew by 5%. For employers like Griffith Co., a general contractor, construction volume is up 20% from the year before for its Bakersfield branch; it expects to do more hiring when more projects get off the ground.

- According to state employment data, Kern County is just 5,600 jobs from matching its peak employment of 239,600 reached in September 2007, when developers were tossing up houses and condos at an unsustainable pace. And the big gainer is Bakersfield, the county seat and its largest city by far. The area, which has large petroleum deposits, is benefiting from a surge in energy prices. That has led to more drilling for oil and natural gas and boosted other energy projects, which means more hiring. "We have work in the oil fields," said Danny Kane, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local 428, based in downtown Bakersfield. "We have a lot of solar work. We have wind. We are just fortunate to have those opportunities in Kern County."

- Although employment has recovered recently, population has been exploding for a decade as people have sought work opportunities and cheap housing. From 2000 to 2010, the county's population grew to 839,000, a jump of almost 27%, compared with 10% statewide, according to U.S. Census Bureau data. The city boasted nearly 350,000 Bakersfieldians in 2010, about 101,000 more than in 2000, a 41% increase. "We're growing faster than we create jobs," said Melinda Brown, director of business development for the Kern County Economic Development Corp. But the recent employment growth is a signal that the area has gotten past "all the layoffs, and people are hiring here and there," she said.

- In the last year, several companies have decided to move operations to Bakersfield, attracted by cheaper office space and land and fast approval of business licenses. The city's location is also a selling point; it's just two hours north of the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, attractive to companies with West Coast operations. Caterpillar last year bought 46 acres and has nearly completed a 400,000-square-foot distribution center at the Tejon Ranch Commerce Center near the junction of Interstate 5 and state Highway 99. This follows the opening of a Dollar General distribution hub this year. The industrial center houses hubs for Target, Ikea and Famous Footwear. Tejon Ranch Co., a publicly traded company, also recently announced plans to open an outlet center in 2014 with the Rockefeller Group at the intersection of the two highways, near its commerce center.

- But despite these gains, 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. "Bakersfield's perception is tough to overcome," Kern County's Brown said. "It's a challenge in bringing companies here." But even more problematic for growth is the poorly educated workforce. Only 9.8% of Kern County's population has a bachelor's degree, according to census data, which means high-paying jobs in engineering are difficult to fill and tend to go to workers who relocate from out of state. "Bakersfield is still a Central Valley economy," said Eduardo Martinez, a Moody's Analytics economist, noting that the large agriculture industry means much of the labor force is migrant workers, low-skilled and uneducated. And the county's reliance on oil makes it vulnerable to drops in energy prices, Martinez said.

.....








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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 7:29 PM
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Wow looks like Bakersfield and Kern County is coming up. Pretty soon hipsters will be moving in to the downtown area and riding bikes to their job at coffee shops Bakersfield is the new Portland!

Any news on when some gleaming condo towers will be sprouting up? Urban Politician should invest in Real Estate there.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 11, 2012, 7:39 PM
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Good for Bakersfield! Any time an American city has positive things happening to it, we should be happy.
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  #4  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2012, 7:17 AM
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Yeah, but it's still Bakersfield.

I kid...only slight. But, more serious, and this just doesn't apply to Bakersfield, I hope the powers that be use this 'boom' to increase the overall quality of life, there. I hope every city learns how to do better than it did before the Great Recession, I'm talking tangible, not-so-sexy things like workfroce development, economic diversification, better urban planning...
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Old Posted Sep 12, 2012, 9:27 AM
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Oh dear god, Bakersfield... I'm glad the economy's coming back there, but I honestly can say I'm not a fan, especially having lived there for a year! Haha

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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Bakersfield is not as bad as I thought it would be--at least that's the impression I got when I drove to Vegas from the Bay Area once and passed through.
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2012, 10:45 PM
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It'll really help once I-40 is extended west from Barstow. I believe a freeway connection to I-5 due west of the city is currently under construction as well.
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  #8  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2012, 11:07 PM
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CAHSR would be a bigger boon to those depressing Central Valley cities (Bakersfield, Fresno, Modesto, Stockton) than it would to the "Big Four." I think that is truly the most underrated aspect of the HSR vision, and it's the only way I can see those cities ever being viable places to live and invest in.

Really though, can you imagine how much better this state would be if those Central Valley dumps didn't exist?
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 12:03 AM
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is the place going to blow up?

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  #10  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 1:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westsidelife View Post
Really though, can you imagine how much better this state would be if those Central Valley dumps didn't exist?
is this really necessary?
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 1:37 AM
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There's a lot more to this state than the Bay Area, L.A., and San Diego.

Though I still don't know why the hell UC-Merced was opened and continues to operate.
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  #12  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 2:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Westsidelife View Post

Really though, can you imagine how much better this state would be if those Central Valley dumps didn't exist?
I was thinking that California would be a better state if coastal city snobs were tempered a little.

What's wrong with some good news out of Bakersfield?
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  #13  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 2:18 AM
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Just my opinion, but I think Bakersfield should start thinking of planning commuter rail service, probably mostly single tracked. The ROW's are there for it, to places like Taft, Shafter, Delano, etc.
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 3:20 AM
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Great. Keep the good economic news coming.
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  #15  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 3:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimondpark View Post
Bakersfield is not as bad as I thought it would be--at least that's the impression I got when I drove to Vegas from the Bay Area once and passed through.
Its just a typical mid size city. In Texas we have Waco or Lubbock, in California you have Bakersfield. No big whoop.
I can see Bakersfield boom, and those who bought distressed houses the last couple years are going to cash in.
I think the big thing in California is that those who cant afford the coast go to the valley cities, and the contrast is really not fair, because if Bakersfield was in Iowa or Texas, it would be fine. In California its just an inland city, thats not in Southern California, the Bay area or near the coast.
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 4:17 AM
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Classic song

Video Link
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  #17  
Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 5:51 AM
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There's nothing wrong with Bakersfield, no reason to disrespect the place and every reason to cheer the rare boom in the midst of a statewide bust.
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Old Posted Sep 13, 2012, 1:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Private Dick View Post
Classic song

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I prefer Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty)
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Old Posted Sep 14, 2012, 2:53 AM
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^ Thanks a lot. That sax riff and guitar solo parts run through my mind a couple times a week minimum anyway... I have no idea why, other than the fact that it's a badass tune. Now, it will be in my mind before I sleep tonight and when I wake tomorrow.

Though the whole Sherlock Holmes theme in this video is bizarre (people do weird things)... yeah, Holmes lived on Baker Street in London, but he has nothing to do with the subject of the song.
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  #20  
Old Posted Sep 14, 2012, 4:01 AM
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Damn you. Now I will have that stuck in my head for like a week.
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