BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Oil rigs and almond orchards are a familiar sight in Kern County, but for Bakersfield residents, these industries keep bringing good news.
"We are number two for agriculture, and number one for oil. Those industries are doing still relatively well," explained Richard Chapman, the President of the Kern Economic Development Corporation.
Because of the jobs that were created by these industries, Bakersfield was ranked 2nd in the nation for mid-to large metropolitan areas for most jobs added in the last three years. But according to Chapman, agriculture is actually seeing a decline in numbers.
"We noticed slow down especially last month. The ag. unemployment is worrisome compared to last year this time," said Chapman.
Agricultural unemployment and job decline could be explained by several factors such as lack of water. But Chapman says technology is the biggest reason as "the more you automate the process, you need folks with more skills but also potentially less employees."
Although Kern County unemployment remains in the double digits, the average salary is over $50,000. Which means that unlike other cities, people without a higher education can still get a job.
"There's various career paths we are trying to educate people in. Not everyone needs an advanced degree, if you have some technical training, you know a two year degree, you may find a job that pays in that range," said Chapman.