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Wednesday, December 11, 2019
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EconomyManufacturing

IE Business Activity Outperforming U.S. GDP Growth; Expansion to Continue in 2020

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Local Manufacturing Industry Remains A Key Growth Sector

News Release — RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — For the second quarter in a row business activity in the Inland Empire has outperformed the nation as a whole. The new Inland Empire Business Activity Index released today by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Developmentshows a jump of 2.3% in the region’s business activity in the third quarter compared to 1.9% growth for U.S. GDP. On an annual basis, from the third quarter of 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, the region’s business activity growth has been roughly on par with the national growth rate at 1.8% and 2.0%, respectively.
 
“The near term outlook is also positive with growth continuing into 2020, driven by key local industries such as logistics,” said Christopher Thornberg Director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and one of the Index authors. “The challenge lies in the longer term, where economic and industry growth will be held back by labor shortages caused by California’s lack of home supply and the unaffordability that creates.”
 
The latest Index reports that business activity in the Inland Empire is forecast to rise between 1.9% and 2.4% over the next year. 
 
The report also takes a deeper look at the region’s manufacturing industry which remains a leading local job sector despite a well-known and decades-long decline in manufacturing employment across California and the nation. The analysis measures the industry’s employment growth since the depths of the ‘Great Recession’ in 2009 and finds that in California as a whole, manufacturing jobs have only grown by 5.7% while they have increased by 18.3% in the Inland Empire. Still, despite the expansion, the IE’s manufacturing sector has not fully recovered from the recession when it shed 28.6% of its total employment
 
“Manufacturing tends to be a highly cyclical industry and it was hit hard during the recession,” said Thornberg. “But it’s clearly an important growth sector in the Inland Empire – if you look longer term, since 1976, manufacturing employment in the region has nearly doubled while areas such as Los Angeles County have experienced sustained declines, indicating a more inherent competitive advantage locally.” 
 
The current Inland Empire Business Activity Index is now available. The Index tracks the performance of the Inland Empire regional economy on a quarterly basis and is adjusted for seasonal variations. The composite indicator is estimated using a wide range of economic data including employment, economic output, income, real estate, and other indicators at the national, state, and metropolitan levels. The Index is produced entirely by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. 
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The UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development is the first major university forecasting center in Inland Southern California. The Center produces economic forecasting and policy research focused on the region, state, and nation. Learn more at UCREconomicForecast.org

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Inland Empire Business Journal
The Inland Empire Business Journal (IEBJ) is the official business news publication of Southern California’s Inland Empire region - covering Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.