2022 has the potential for a surge in the economy in California

The News Review will publish a series of articles on the 2022 Economic Outlook Conference sponsored by the Ridgecrest Chamber of Commerce. These articles will include the addresses of the conference speakers. The first will be part one of the keynote speaker Dr. Mark Schneipp. He addressed the economy both nationally and locally. Outlook Continues ...

The Outlook

This year—2022—has the potential to be the first year that the California economy will be free of restrictions that have hindered business sector and labor market growth since February 2020.

An unrestricted economy should generate a surge of growth, led by consumer spending on goods, services, travel, and larger public gathering events such as concerts, conferences and sporting events.

Further growth is therefore expected this year if California policy makers decide to call off the pandemic and encourage a return to the pre-pandemic business environment.

A formal end to the pandemic should jump start a return to the labor force by those that have been reluctant to work since the pandemic struck. The inability to date for the labor force to normalize has been the principal drag on job creation—in the Indian Wells Valley and in California in general.

With massive repair and reconstruction of facilities underway at China Lake NAS, this activity alone represents a substantial engine of economic growth for the region, and for an extended period of time.

The Defense budget outlook for normal base operations in the U.S. does not suggest any departure from the current trend in place, providing continued stability of operations at China Lake.

The forecast for the local economy continues to remain auspicious. The Indian Wells Valley economy will return to a more normally functioning environment sooner than the rest of Kern County or California. This area of the County is dominated by Department of Defense activities, aerospace testing and exploration research, massive development of energy resources, and tourism.

East Kern County

This area of the County is dominated by Department of Defense activities, aerospace testing and exploration research, massive development of energy resources, and tourism.

Ridgecrest is in the northeastern most corner of the broader Eastern Kern County region. Historically the location of the principal borax mining in the nation, today the U.S. Navy and Air Force are the key economic engines in the region, operating the large and strategic facilities of China Lake Naval Air Station and Edwards Air Force Base. These two facilities employ over 15,000 direct workers and create thousands of indirect jobs as a result of their economic reach.

Over 1,000 workers in 60 companies are engaged in aerospace design, test, and evaluation, wind energy, industrial manufacturing, and airliner storage.

Rio Tinto’s open pit U.S. Borax mine in Boron, California, produces approximately one third of the world’s supply of refined borate products. The company employs 800 workers at the site.

Eastern Kern County Population January 2022 City /Town Residents Inyokern 1,142, Boron 2,502, Mojave 4,501, California City 15,758, Rosamond 20,837 and Ridgecrest 35,898 a Total of 80,638 Source: Claritas

Red Rock Canyon State Park

Red Rock Canyon State Park features scenic desert cliffs, buttes, and spectacular rock formations. The park is located at the southernmost tip of the Sierra Nevada. An estimated 27,000 people visit the park for day use and camping each year.

Sierra Nevada recreation opportunities are close and quite prolific for residents of InyoKern and Ridgecrest, and even more so for the population of Inyo County.

Energy projects and Air technology dominate the Eastern Kern Economy, along with mining in the Trona and Southern Kern County areas. The two military installations represent the dominant economic engine of Eastern Kern. GAVEA reports a total workforce of 8,929 for Edwards Air Force Base, including contractors. Together with the estimated headcount at China Lake, military operations employ approximately 16,000 workers—both civilian and military—in principally high technology positions of scientific research, testing, and evaluation.

Story First Published: 2022-03-18