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Inland Empire Helping To Drive California’s Economic Expansion

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IE Labor Force Edges Up; Median Home Price Appreciation Highest In SoCal


December 19, 2019— RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — 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 neighboring 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% as of October 2019, outstripping growth in the United States (1.4%), California (1.8%), the Los Angeles metro area (1.3%), Orange County (1.2%), and matching San Diego County (2%).

“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% annual increase in the local labor force stands in contrast to contracting labor forces in nearby Orange County (-0.4%) and Los Angeles (-0.1%), as well as in the state as a whole (-0.3%).

“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.

Other Key Findings:

Home Price Climb: As one of the last bastions of relatively affordable real estate in Southern California, home prices in the Inland Empire still have room to grow. The median price of a single-family home in the region rose 4.7% from the 3rd quarter of 2018 to the 3rd quarter of 2019. This surpasses price growth in the state as a whole (2.2%) as well as in every other Southern California metro (Los Angeles 3.1%, Orange County 0.3%, San Diego 0.1%).

Wage Pressure: Driven by a tight labor market, nominal wages continue to steadily increase in the Inland Empire, however not as quickly as in the state overall (3.8% vs 4.2% wage growth from the first half of 2018 to the first half of 2019). But as employers compete for talent from a limited pool, the upward pressure on earnings will continue.

Consumer and Business Spending: Higher wages and gains in employment have boosted spending in the IE. Taxable sales in the region jumped 4.1% on an annual basis compared to 3.7% in the state overall. And while every spending category expanded over this period, Business and Industry receipts, which represent business-to-business spending, topped the list at 4.2% growth.

Trade Stumbles: Trade through the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles totaled $313.1 billion in the first nine months of 2019, a 7.9% decrease from the same period in 2018. Not surprisingly, trade with China saw the steepest decline, but even if the trade war with that nation persists, it won’t end the current expansion in the U.S. or the region. Notably, freight activity through Ontario International Airport increased 3.5% in 2019.

Logistics Space in Demand: Newly added stock rather than declining demand has slightly increased the vacancy rate among warehouse and distribution properties in the Inland Empire. But the 4.4% increase in asking rents among these properties from the 3rd quarter of 2018 to the 3rd quarter of 2019 reaffirms strong demand from the region’s expanding logistics sector. Indeed, rent costs have not grown at the same pace in Orange County (2,3%), Los Angeles (2.9%), or San Diego County (3.1%).

The new Inland Empire Business Activity Index is now available. The Index tracks 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 level. The Index is produced entirely by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

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.

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

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Newmark Negotiates 864,000-Square-Foot Industrial Lease Renewal in Perris, California

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Newmark announces the 864,000-square-foot industrial lease renewal with NFI Industries, a supply chain solutions provider, at Perris Distribution Center in Perris, California.

Newmark Executive Managing Directors Mark Kegans, SIOR and Ron Washle, SIOR and Managing Director Dean Washle represented the landlord, Ares Management, formerly known as Black Creek Group.

“Our team was pleased to represent Ares Management in such this substantial lease renewal,” said Kegans. “Perris Distribution Center is in a prime location for logistics and distribution, as evidenced by the location’s top-tier tenant roster.”

Located at 657 Nance Street in Perris, Perris Distribution Center is a two-story cross-dock facility expandable to ±1,137,000 square feet. Building features include approximately 7,000 square feet of office space, minimum 36’ warehouse clearance height, ESFR sprinkler system, LED warehouse lighting, 112 dock-high loading doors and concrete truck courts. The ±43-acre parcel offers 298 auto parking spaces and 224 trailer parking spaces, including an auxiliary parcel to accommodate up to 154 trailer parking spaces or approximately 530 auto parking spaces.

Perris Distribution Center is proximate to Freeway 215, with on and off-ramps at Harley Knox Boulevard to the north and Ramona Expressway to the south. Neighboring industrial tenants include The Home Depot, General Mills, Ross, iHerb, Amazon and Wayfair, to name a few.

The national industrial market has remained resilient despite recent economic and geopolitical headwinds, according to Newmark Research. For the fifth consecutive quarter, national industrial absorption topped 100 million square feet. The persistent imbalance between demand and new deliveries has pushed vacancy down to 3.7%, likely a cyclical low. Demand remains strong for industrial space with absorption continuing to outpace deliveries.

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County prepares for the storms ahead

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With more rain on the way this weekend and even more next week, County Public Works crews have been busy in the mountains and elsewhere in the county cleaning up from this morning’s rain and preparing flood control facilities for the storms ahead both in the mountains and in recently burned areas.

After having cleared a path through all 500-plus miles of County roads in a little over a week, crews this week have widened nearly every one of those roads to two lanes while also ensuring 150 high-priority culverts were clear. That was not an easy task considering many were hidden by massive snow berms. Crews relied on GIS technology and old photos to find many of the culverts. Public Works teams also cleared out debris basins and made sure channels and other waterways were clear.

County Public Works coordinated with the Rim of the World School District to improve access to bus stops and clear bus routes so mountain schools can return to normal operations. Crews also plowed Rim of the World High School parking lots for students and staff when they return.

Public Works upgraded its GIS map to a Snow Road Widened Status Dashboard so the public can get daily updates on which County and non-County maintained roads have been widened. Also included in the dashboard are resources to find food and supply distribution centers, shelter, and more.

See all of today’s highlights in our daily storm recovery video.

Residents are urged to be prepared and make sure they are signed up for emergency notifications and also download the SB Ready app. Residents can do both on the San Bernardino County Fire Protection District website.

Mountain residents urged to report property damage

Damage estimates are the strongest tool local communities have in convincing state and federal agencies to provide relief. That’s why the County is encouraging mountain property owners to use an online property damage reporting tool developed by the County Fire District to report moderate to major damage to residential and commercial buildings caused by the winter storms.

The information reported by property owners will be part of the total damage estimate provided to the state, which will then decide whether to seek aid from federal agencies such as FEMA.

Property owners seeking to repair or rebuild their storm-damaged structures are eligible for to have up to $500 in County planning and building fees waived thanks to action taken yesterday by the Board of Supervisors. Those looking to rebuild should consult the County’s new Mountain Region Snowstorm Rebuild Questions & Answers document.

Funding approved by the Board is also making is possible for the County to reimburse residents up to $500 toward the cost of removing snow from their property.

A complete list of resources and links is available on the County Snow Information website.

Teamwork frees snowbound mountain residents

Twin Peaks resident Michelle Munoz expresses her gratitude to the members of the Forestry and Fire Recruitment Program who worked diligently to remove the snow that had piled up around her home.

Wrightwood residents reach out to recognize unsung heroes

As the community of Wrightwood recovers from the recent blizzard, it’s important to recognize all of the unsung heroes who went above and beyond to help their neighbors in need.

Laurey Aydelotte, a Wrightwood resident since 2004, reached out to the office of their First District County Supervisor, Col. Paul Cook (Ret.), to praise these community members.

“Friends with snow removal equipment quickly stepped up to help some of our trapped residents,” said Aydelotte. “This included Sadie Albers, John Kearn and Jeremy Norman of Hesperia. Residents were helping each other get food, pick up medicine from various pharmacies, and other essentials.”

Renee Olson, a lifelong Wrightwood resident, echoed Aydelotte’s comments. She and friends Dionne Burns and Julie LaFever enlisted the help of local teens to assist seniors who were unable to clear the large amounts of snow. “There were so many great kids who helped shovel seniors’ driveways throughout the neighborhood: Cade LaFever, Alexia and Sienna Burns, Cameron Coombs, Cash Littlefield, Ethan Olson, and Devun Moore,” said Olson. “I’d also like to recognize Owen Todhunter and the Serrano High School Explorers, who dug out several driveways. It was definitely a group effort!”

Wendi Swanson, another longtime Wrightwood resident, agreed. “Everyone worked together to help seniors on our street, clearing their berm or at least a foot path in case of emergency,” she said. “I know neighbors helped me and I helped them. It was true Wrightwood cohesion.”

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Rebuilt Second Street Bridge Opens in Downtown San Bernardino

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The City of San Bernardino celebrated the reopening of Second Street between Arrowhead Avenue and Mountain View Avenue on Tuesday, March 14, restoring vehicle and pedestrian traffic to a key downtown corridor. The road had been closed for three years for the demolition and reconstruction of the Second Street Bridge, which passes over Warm Creek and was found to have structural issues in 2020.

At a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the bridge, Mayor Helen Tran stated, “I share in the excitement of our residents and businesses in the reopening of Second Street. It is a small bridge, but a big connection point.”

When Caltrans found structural issues with the bridge in March of 2020 and ordered it closed to vehicles and pedestrians, plans were already underway to replace it. In February of 2021, the City awarded a contract to Ortiz Construction to construct a new bridge. Construction began in June of 2021.

“I would often get asked by constituents when Second Street would re-open,” said Council Member Damon Alexander. “We are pleased that today is that day.”

Completion of the project was delayed by over a year due to supply chain issues experienced by both the contractor and Southern California Edison, who needed to construct new electricity connections through the new bridge to downtown San Bernardino.

“This project was the poster child for the supply chain issues experienced at the height of the pandemic,” said San Bernardino Public Works Director Daniel Hernandez. “I’d like to thank our contractors and utility partners for their flexibility and patience with each other.”

The project was further delayed last summer to ensure the existing electricity connection remained in place to meet peak load demand downtown.

The cost to replace the four-lane bridge was just over $3.2 million. Approximately $2.6 million was funded by the City, and $600,000 was funded for project design, inspections, and contingencies by Caltrans.


Note: The individuals in the attached ribbon cutting photo from left to right are Public Works Director Daniel Hernandez, Council Member Damon Alexander, Mayor Helen Tran, Council Member Ben Reynoso, and Assistant City Manager Edelia Eveland.

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