It's leading the Central Valley recovery, both because of stepped-up oil production in Kern County and the large number of warehouses and industrial parks in the area. Construction jobs rose 5 percent in October compared with a year earlier - one of the strongest growth rates in the nation - and it's regained all but 3,000 jobs that had been lost between 2007 and 2010. From the WSJ:
"It's not any one thing, but a lot of things adding up," said John Emery, dean of the school of business and public administration at California State University, Bakersfield. "It's a great time to be here." Economists warn that Bakersfield, like California, isn't out of the woods. Kern County's October unemployment rate of 12.2%, while down from 13.5% a year earlier, exceeded both the state and U.S. rate. And despite a rebound in housing starts here and statewide this year, the markets remain well below prerecession levels. Median prices for an existing single-family home plunged 61% in Kern County and 57% for the state as a whole between 2006 and 2009, and they have rebounded to 48% below 2006 levels, according to the California Association of Realtors. Restoring construction is important, economists say, because it generates many other jobs.