Kern County held steady at #19 due to a good performance in job and wage growth.
Despite lagging the state and the nation in educational attainment, the Bakersfield-Delano metro had the seventh-highest growth in five-year high-tech output, but the one-year indicator is less competitive. At 13.3 percent in 2012, unemployment remains higher than in many other regions on the list and well above the national average.
With a location near major markets, good transportation links, and competitively priced real estate, the Bakersfield-Delano metro is an attractive site for distribution centers. Caterpillar opened a new parts distribution center there in 2012 to serve California, Nevada, and Arizona. Local military bases support consumer spending, but military budget cuts could dull the impact.
Interest in the vast oil reserves in the Monterey Shale has been tempered by technical and state regulatory challenges to extracting oil from the formation. This may prevent the mining industry from meeting some of the more optimistic growth projections.43 However, employment at firms supporting the oil and gas industry expanded by 830 jobs in 2012.