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Inland Empire Business Activity Rebounds After Second Quarter Plunge



Resurgence of COVID-19 Cases Distressing But Vaccine News Boosts Outlook; More Time At Home: The Pandemic’s Growth Effect On IE Residential Real Estate

December 10, 2020 — Following a historic plunge in the second quarter, business activity in the Inland Empire rebounded rapidly in the third quarter as regional employment recovered more than 54,000 jobs, according to a new analysis released today by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

Driven primarily by a jump in consumer spending, on an annualized basis, business activity in the Inland Empire soared 16% in the third quarter, following a dismal 26.5% decline in the second. And while Riverside and San Bernardino Counties remain among California’s top five locations in terms of the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, the region’s unemployment level is tracking below the state’s, indicating resilience relative to other areas.

Moreover, although the current resurgence of the virus and the associated restrictions on economic activity are introducing a substantial downside risk, the new analysis says an even broader economic recovery is likely in 2021, a prospect that has been bolstered by positive vaccine developments. The report notes that a genuine return to pre-COVID consumer demand won’t occur until the spread of the virus is controlled.

“Controlling the spread of COVID-19 and maintaining momentum in the labor market will be key over the next few months,” said Adam Fowler, Director of Research at the Center for Forecasting. “While it will be a dark winter given the virus resurgence, the record pace of economic growth in the third quarter has been faster than in previous business cycles, and combined with positive vaccine news, it’s a promising trend.”

Unlike the massive disruptions that have occurred in employment and business activity, the pandemic has left the Inland Empire’s housing market relatively unscathed, according to the new analysis. Similar to California’s other major metros, the declines in home prices and home sales that marked the early stages of the crisis were short lived and have wholly reversed themselves. Inland Empire home price appreciation reached into the double digits in July and has continued to increase through October (the most recent data available), while home sales in the region increased 55% from the second to the third quarters.

The improvement, however, has not been evenly distributed. “The upswing in home prices and sales is certainly reflective of the ‘nesting’ instinct the pandemic has aroused as we all spend more time at home,” said Fowler. “But most of the advances we see are occurring in the upper end of the housing market, among homeowners with higher incomes; parts of the Inland Empire’s housing market, and population, are struggling.”

Key findings include:

  • In Riverside County, on an annualized basis, the median home price jumped 11.8%, rising from $429,000 to $480,000. Home sales have soared 28%.
  • San Bernardino County’s price surge has been even greater with the median home price rising from $315,000 to $359,000 over a one-year period, a 19.4% increase. Home sales have jumped 19.8%.
  • Nearly 26% of the Inland Empire labor force is employed in industries that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19. The vast discrepancy between these industries and those that have weathered the storm, will limit how much the housing market can continue to strengthen without containment of the virus.
  • In a unique twist, unlike the state’s other major metros, the Inland Empire’s rental market has maintained a healthy pace of growth with average rent increasing 2.5% from September 2019 to September 2020. Rents in every submarket within the region either gained or experienced little change as a result of the pandemic. This is likely indicative of the broader pandemic-driven exodus that has occurred from dense urban centers to more suburban environments.
  • Construction permit activity in the Inland Empire suggests the region is faring much better than its Southern California neighbors, with continued increases in both multifamily and single-family housing permits. 

View the new Inland Empire Business Activity Index here.


Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce to Lead California Delegation at GITEX GLOBAL 2023 in Dubai



Fostering Technological Synergy: Bridging the Tech Gap with Global Partners

Demonstrating the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce’s (IERCC) commitment to global tech collaboration and innovation, the organization will lead a California delegation to the world-renowned GITEX GLOBAL event in Dubai from October 16-20, 2023. Though the original invitation extended to IERCC’s President & CEO, Mr. Edward Ornelas, Jr., he will not be in attendance. Instead, the California delegation will be spearheaded by the Chamber’s newly-appointed CTO, Mr. Gabriel Rangel.

Organized by the Dubai World Trade Centre, GITEX GLOBAL 2023 promises to be grander than ever. The event is set to host over 6,000 exhibiting companies and startups, drawing more than 170,000 tech and business executives from over 170 countries. The mega-event will sprawl across 41 vast halls and, for the first time ever, will be held at two prominent venues – the iconic Dubai World Trade Centre and the new Dubai Harbour for Expand North Star, making it the host for the world’s largest startup event.

Mr. Edward Ornelas, Jr. commented, “While I regret not attending GITEX personally, I am proud to have Mr. Rangel at the helm of this effort. I’m confident that our delegation will foster new collaborations and present the Golden State as a tech powerhouse.”

This year’s conference adopts the compelling theme of “The Year to Imagine AI in Everything”. Attendees are poised to witness the grandest showcase of AI tech giants and industry frontrunners. Additionally, it promises to kindle profound dialogues and debates concerning the socio-economic implications of burgeoning AI technology.

“Leading the California delegation at GITEX offers us an unmatched platform to nurture and solidify relationships with global tech partners,” said Mr. Gabriel Rangel, CTO of IERCC. “As the technology landscape continues to evolve, it’s critical for us to be a part of these international collaborations. I’m honored to spearhead this mission on behalf of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce.”

An integral part of the California delegation, Mr. Ram Thanapandian, Principal Technology Consultant to the State of California and Chair of CA State Treasurer Fiona Ma’s Technical Advisory Commission, will be present, providing invaluable insights and representing the State of California Treasurer’s Office.

IERCC’s leadership in organizing this delegation underscores the crucial role that California plays in the global tech ecosystem and mirrors Dubai’s ambitious vision as encapsulated in the Dubai Economic Agenda (D33). This strategy aims to substantially expand Dubai’s economic landscape in the upcoming decade, securing its stature among the world’s leading global cities.

Trixie LohMirmand, Executive Vice President of the Dubai World Trade Centre and CEO of KAOUN International, remarked on the invaluable contributions the California delegation will bring to the event. She looks forward to an event marked by knowledge-sharing, collaboration, and pioneering discussions.

For additional information on GITEX GLOBAL 2023, please refer to: GITEX 2023 Preview.

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Economist Christopher Thornberg, State Treasurer Fiona Ma Headline New Forecast Conference



Coming October 5th

Economic Horizon 2024: What Lies Ahead?

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with Beacon Economics and the County of San Bernardino, is thrilled to announce that the anticipated economic forecast conference, Economic Horizon 2024: What Lies Ahead, Inland Empire? will be held October 5th from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM at the El Prado Golf Courses in the vibrant city of Chino, California.

Esteemed economist, Dr. Christopher Thornberg will present complete outlooks for the U.S., California, and Inland Empire economies. “The Inland Empire stands at the crossroads of remarkable economic opportunities and challenges,” said Thornberg. “I’m excited to unpack the trends and shifts that will define the region’s economic landscape in the next year, and beyond.”

Known for his razor-sharp observations, and fun, energized delivery, Thornberg’s presentation will include pointed discussions about inflation, the Fed’s next move, housing markets, strengths and instabilities in the economy, and what current trends mean for the nation, state, and local region.

The conference will also be graced by the insights of California State Treasurer Fiona Ma as keynote speaker. In her words, “The strength of California’s economy is deeply interwoven with the growth trajectories of its regions. The Inland Empire, with its dynamism and resilience, is a testament to this synergy. I am honored to join ‘Economic Horizon 2024’ and share a vision where policies, partnerships, and potentials converge to elevate the Inland Empire to unprecedented economic heights.”

“This conference is a testament to the collaborative spirit of the Inland Empire and our commitment to fostering a robust, resilient economy,” said Edward Ornelas, Jr., President of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce. “Our partnership with Beacon Economics and the County of San Bernardino aims to offer a platform for profound economic discussion, forecasting, and strategic future planning.”

Attendees can anticipate not only expert insights into the economy but also networking opportunities and a chance to connect with key business, government, and nonprofit leaders from across the region.

Full event details are available at:

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Bizz Buzz

Webb Investments acquires Silver Creek Industries, an industry leader in modular construction for schools



Webb Investments today announced the launch of a new company, Silver Creek Modular, after acquiring the assets of Silver Creek Industries, a highly respected modular construction company known for bringing innovative, sustainable and cost-effective solutions to the education industry. 

Silver Creek Industries’ existing business, including its employees and its Perris, Calif., manufacturing facility, will remain with the new company, with Webb providing the investment capital, resources and expertise to enhance Silver Creek’s presence in the modular construction marketplace.

The acquisition closed in June of 2023, following Silver Creek Industries’ Chapter 11 filing in the Central Bankruptcy Court of California.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Silver Creek into our family business, and look forward to building on our shared commitment to improving educational opportunities within communities across our region,” said Kiana Webb, CEO of Webb Family Enterprises. “This acquisition aligns with our strategy to invest in established firms that can help us drive community revitalization and inclusive growth, while improving quality of life and increasing economic output.”

Silver Creek Industries was founded in 2004 and has completed more than 1,000 projects in the education, commercial, medical, military, government and multi-family housing markets. More recently, the company’s focus has been on providing high-quality, sustainable modular buildings for schools and educational institutions. Silver Creek Industries is well known for delivering projects on time and on budget, with minimal disruption to school and the community. 

Webb Investments is a privately held, family-owned company focusing on creating a community development ecosystem that drives inclusive, organic growth and transforms the areas they serve. 

For more information on Webb Investments, please visit

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