Like California’s other major metro areas, the Inland Empire’s economy is defying recessionary fears and, in fact, is helping to drive the state’s continued economic expansion, according to an analysis released today by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.
Over the past year, the region has experienced a higher share of job growth than the nation, California as a whole, and Southern California metros.
“While employment growth in the Inland Empire, and across other geographies, has indeed slowed from previous years, it has not stopped or reversed and shouldn’t be interpreted as a sign of a downturn,” said Adam Fowler, director of research at the Center for Economic Forecasting.
The Inland Empire’s annual job growth stood at 2 percent as of October 2019, outstripping growth in the United States (1.4 percent), California (1.8 percent), the Los Angeles metro area (1.3 percent), Orange County (1.2 percent), and matching San Diego County (2 percent).
“For the Inland Empire, the key takeaways in these numbers are the region’s overall competitiveness with other urban metros amidst a tight labor market, and that job growth is coming from a wide, healthy range of industries,” said Fowler. Of 15 employment sectors, only five lost positions over the year in the Inland Empire.
Importantly, in addition to job growth, the region’s labor force has expanded, albeit only slightly and at a slower rate than in past years. However, the 0.4 percent annual increase in the local labor force stands in contrast to contracting labor forces in nearby Orange County (-.4 percent) and Los Angeles (-.1 percent), as well as in the state as a whole (-.3 percent).
“The healthier growth in the Inland Empire’s work force is being driven in part by one of the region’s most compelling competitive advantages — greater home affordability relative to surrounding areas,” said Fowler.