San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire are far outpacing the field as the COVID-19 recovery begins to take shape. In short order, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) has released both its January and February jobs reports, and the numbers show San Bernardino County adding more than 100,000 jobs, since the depths of the COVID downturn in May 2020.

That means the county regained 72.5 percent of the 138,500 jobs lost from March through May of last year – the strongest recovery rate in all of Southern California (SoCal) and more than 13 percent higher than the state average.

Riverside County is close behind, with a 72 percent recovery rate through February – meaning the Inland Empire, as a whole, is primed to lead SoCal and the state toward a strong post-pandemic economy.

According to the county’s workforce update, “We believe this underscores a number of our key competitive advantages: A strong business climate, room to grow, affordability and value and a labor pool that's being trained and prepared for 21st century employment opportunities.”

Over the past year, the Inland Empire has added more than 20,000 jobs related to supply chain, trade and transportation – a key industry that has become even more essential, as demand for e-commerce has surged. Leisure and hospitality, which was hit hard during the peak of the pandemic, rebounded in February – up 11,200 jobs, from the month before. In all, the two-county region added 21,200 non-farm jobs during February, as the unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent.

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