By David Lyman
With so much going on in our local economy during the past year, some stories received more play than others. Here are a few you may not have seen:
Bakersfield Among Cities Where Salaries Go the Furthest
Bakersfield ranked eighth among the nation’s largest metro areas when it came to getting the biggest bang from the average paycheck. This finding was according to Indeed, the world’s No. 1 job site. Indeed released research showing how the 104 largest metro areas compared when it came to salaries. The results showed the Bakersfield metro area, which includes all of Kern County, was one of only three California areas to make the top 20, with the others being Fresno (No. 3) and Modesto (No. 12).
Bakersfield Fourth Nationally, Second in California, for Architecture and Engineering Jobs
The apartment-hunting website Abodo placed the Bakersfield metro area among the nation’s best based on various factors, including the median rent of a one-bedroom apartment, the median occupation salary and employment per 1,000 jobs. In Bakersfield, about 26 out of every 1,000 jobs are in the architecture or engineering fields with a median salary of $96,350, according to the report. Only San Jose, Detroit and Albuquerque outpaced the Bakersfield metro area. The Abodo report was based on 2015 data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Several Professions Pay More in Bakersfield than Nationally
According to a study released by American City Business Journals, real estate agents in Bakersfield earned an average of $111,060 a year, 87.1 percent higher than the national average of $59,360. Bakersfield environmental engineers earned an average of $125,570 annually, 41.8 percent higher than the $88,530 earned nationally. Pharmacists brought home $140,820 annually in Bakersfield, earning 17.1 percent more than their colleagues nationwide at $120,270.
Bakersfield 32nd Fastest-Growing Large City in U.S.
Of the 64 largest cities in the nation, Bakersfield was the 32nd fastest growing, according to a study by WalletHub. To determine where the fastest local economic growth has occurred in the U.S., analysts from WalletHub compared 515 cities of varying population sizes based on 15 key measures of both growth and decline over a period of seven years. When all 515 cities were compared, Bakersfield ranked 201st.
Bakersfield 53rd for Concentration of Millennials
Among the nation’s 79 major cities, Bakersfield ranked 53rd for its concentration of young adults, commonly known as millennials. Those between the ages of 21 and 35 accounted for 22 percent of the city’s population, according to the current five-year version of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Bakersfield No. 3 U.S. City Where Millennials are Buying Homes
In its “Top 10 Cities Where Millennials Are Buying Homes,” SmartAsset looked at homeownership rates among households where the head of the household was less than 35 years old. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2015 and 2006 1-Year American Community Surveys, the study found “under-35 homeownership in Bakersfield increased from 35.2 percent in 2006 to 40.3 percent in 2015. That’s an increase of 5.1 percent, the second-largest in our study. For a somewhat large city, homes here can be relatively affordable. The median home value is $237,600.” Only two other California cities, Elk Grove and Roseville, made the top 10.
Bakersfield Most Affordable Large Housing Market in California
SmartAsset looked at the total cost over five years of closing costs, taxes, insurance and mortgage payments for the average home in every city in the U.S. with a population greater than 200,000. Then, that five-year cost was viewed as a proportion of median household income in each city to determine affordability. The most affordable cities were those in which total housing costs on an average house accounted for the smallest proportion of the median income. Bakersfield was the most affordable among California’s largest cities. Nationally, Bakersfield ranked 38th.
Bakersfield’s Housing Vacancy Rate Eighth Lowest in U.S.
According to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by Buffalo Business First, there are 121,920 housing units in the city of Bakersfield, and 4,136 of them were vacant, resulting in a vacancy rate of 3.4 percent. Among all U.S. cities with populations of at least 250,000, Bakersfield ranked No. 8 out of 83. When looking at California’s 15 cities of that same size, Bakersfield ranked fifth. Only Santa Ana, San Jose, Anaheim and Long Beach had lower housing vacancy rates than Bakersfield among large California cities.
Bakersfield’s Housing Stock Among Youngest in U.S.
Only 12.7 percent of the housing units within the city of Bakersfield were built prior to 1960, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census Bureau’s 2016 American Community Survey found that of the city’s 121,920 housing units, 15,495 were built before 1960. Among all U.S. cities with populations of at least 250,000, Bakersfield ranked 70th out of 83 in terms of housing stock built before 1960. Among California’s 15 cities of that same size, the only city with a smaller percentage of older housing stock was Irvine.
Bakersfield No. 1 in Retail Growth in California Over Past Decade
Local retail employment grew 12.7 percent since 2007. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Bakersfield metro area had 32,900 retail jobs in April 2017. That is 12.7 percent higher than the corresponding figure of 29,200 jobs in April 2007, ranking it as the 15th-best among the nation’s top 100 markets (tied with Ogden and Indianapolis) and the best out of California’s 10 major markets.
Bakersfield No. 2 Best City of the Future
CreditDonkey, a financial education website, released a study naming what it says will be America’s 10 best cities in the future. Seven of the top 10 are on the West Coast, with Bakersfield ranked No. 2.
The study looked at data for 420 cities. Between all the cities, CreditDonkey compared five data points, which it deemed relevant to what will become America’s “best” cities. Its findings for Bakersfield showed the percentage of housing built in 1990 or later: 35.08 percent; population change since 2010: plus 1.72 percent; construction jobs as a percentage of population: 2.09 percent; space transport companies and proposed spaceports: four; and DeLoreans available: two.
David Lyman, Ph.D., is manager of Visit Bakersfield. He frequently monitors, compiles and analyzes various data about the local economy.