Kern County's jobless rate went from a revised 6.4 percent in November to 7.2 percent in December, according to seasonally unadjusted data released Friday by the California Employment Development Department.

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Kern supervisors joined oil industry representatives, local politicians and residents Tuesday in warning state officials that Gov. Gavin Newsom's regulatory crackdown and moves to wind down in-state petroleum production gravely threaten the county's economy and tax base.

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The father-son team behind downtown Bakersfield's first market-rate housing development in decades is doubling down with a similar project just two blocks away in a part of town observers say has greatly benefited from the investment.

Hemp production continues to spark the imagination of Kern County farmers, investors and government officials despite a high-profile incident that led to the destruction last year of close to 500 acres of the plant by the Sheriff's Office and a subsequent $1 billion claim against the county.

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Computer technology designed to protect honeybees from chemical threats is about to get its first big test as beekeepers from across the country prepare to descend on Central Valley almond orchards for the world's largest annual pollination event.

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Michael Roberts didn't set out to become a new-media show host exploring the ins and outs of small business success. He was just trying to finish a project for his local Toastmasters International club.

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Bakersfield restaurateur Rick Mossman hadn't even finished drinking his daily cup of orange juice when he noticed a pair of customers sitting at the counter reading the newspaper and snickering behind his back.

California's oil industry faces a familiar but growing regulatory challenge as the Newsom administration prepares to decide whether to establish buffer zones between petroleum production facilities and environmentally sensitive sites such as homes and schools.

A drop in seasonal farm employment darkened Kern's otherwise positive employment picture as the county's jobless rate rose 0.3 points in November to reach 6.4 percent, according to a state report released Friday.

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Two hundred eleven startup businesses made investment pitches. Only 18 were invited to make formal presentations. Of those, just six made the final cut, receiving a combined total of $385,000.

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California's plan to curtail in-state oil production as a way of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions relies on questionable economics and might not be the wisest path to achieving climate-change benefits, according to several economists familiar with the proposal.

Some of Kern County's most promising young entrepreneurs came together Saturday for the finale of a two-month contest in which teams of computer coders came up with, or worked to perfect, business enterprises that might one day turn into Silicon Valley-style startups.

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Eastern Kern County's vast renewable-energy potential will shine brightly Friday as corporate and government leaders celebrate the completion of an eight-year, roughly 1,400-acre photovoltaic project designed to generate enough electricity to power more than 150,000 homes in the Los Angeles area.