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How unemployment is affecting Girl Scout trooops

Posted at 7:03 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 22:03:35-05

Since 2013, a Bakersfield middle school student has been the top girl scout cookie seller for the Central Valley, selling 15,000 boxes in that time.

But this year she's nearly 1,000 boxes off pace.

Since September, Kern County's unemployment numbers have continued an upward trend.

And city leaders say the unemployment rate is forcing Bakersfield residents to change the way they spend money, on everything from travel to sweets and treats.

But how do Girl Scout cookies and the unemployment rate go together?

Mom and group leader Brittany Amos says she's making this a "teachable moment" for her scouts... Highlighting how the economy can impact their troop's budget.

“I think honestly it's just a lot of people are losing their jobs. They're not spending as freely as they normally do. They still want to support a good cause so they still buy cookies, but it's just a lot less than normal,” said Amos. “We try to explain to the girls like what's going on. Like they need to know what's going on in the community and what's happening.”

Bakersfield's Assistant City Manager, Chris Huot, says he fully believes unemployment is a feasible reason why local troops are seeing a decline in sales.

“When you start to have some significant layoffs in the industry, disposable income goes away and there's not as many purchases of what would be considered wants as opposed to needs,” said Huot. 

In the most recent job cuts, hundreds have been laid off in the oil industry and other major companies located in Kern County, like Xerox.

And these cuts are the cause to an effect that is a major shift in spending.

“Oh yeah big drastic change. You know you go from 1,500 dollars to 400-450 a week. Big change, you've got to change everything. What you do, what you don't do,” said the unemployed man that wished to remain off camera.

And for the unemployed, they're slimming down their budget and in many cases eliminating anything that's not a necessity.

“And the things that we want is just not important right now and the things that we need is very much important right now, especially without a job,” said the woman that wished to remain off camera.

Cholena Humphrey recently finished school receiving her certification, but now has the trouble of finding a job.

"Even the necessities of a working class person, somebody that's working, are in themselves hard to afford," said Humphrey.

And when it comes to girl scout cookies, their five dollar a box price tag is deterring many regular customers from splurging on those sweets.

“You'd love to help those kids cause they're doing and they're learning. And yeah you cut back on stuff like that,” said the man that wished to remain off camera.

But have no fear, if you are still looking to help your local girl scout troop there are still three weeks left.

And despite the lag in sales, Kern county troops say they'll still be out in full force in hopes of topping last year's sales.