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Recession Over; Economy Forecasted to Have a Rapid Recovery, but Long Term Consequences Are Still Unknown



“This natural disaster is a different kind of shock to the system than a typical business cycle. Natural Disasters, as tragic as they come, do not have long-run economic consequences.” –Christopher Thornberg Ph.D.

Written by: Rachel Silverman | Freelance Reporter for IEBJ

Thursday, June 24th, the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted the 5th Annual San Bernardino County Economic Forecast Conference at The Enterprise Building in Downtown San Bernardino, co-hosted by the UCR School of Business: Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. Christopher Thornberg. Ph.D., the Director of the UCR Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, led the forecast report.

Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce opened the conference with welcome remarks. Guests also heard a brief update from San Bernardino County’s 5th District Supervisor Mr. Joe Baca. Jian Torkin, a Commercial Real Estate Developer at RDICO provided a virtual presentation and update regarding the Downtown San Bernardino Carousel Mall redevelopment project. Earlier in the year, the City of San Bernardino voted 6-1 awarding RDICO the contract as master developer of the now vacant Carousel Mall. RDICO is a joint venture between two developer agencies — Renaissance Downtowns USA & ICO Group of Companies, hence “RDICO”. Additional reports and forecasting were provided by Patrick Adler, Ph.D.

Despite recent contradicting headlines about the state of the economy, Christopher Thornberg brought data to the table to truly explain the current state of California’s economy in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

“This was going to be a rapid economic recovery, regardless, because that’s what happens after natural disasters come to an end.” But with the addition of the priorly upcoming presidential election, both parties became embroiled in a contest of lobbing money at the economy. “This has taken what was going to be a rapid recovery and turned it into a rocket ship recovery.” Here Thornberg is referencing the $3.5 trillion in stimulus checks and tax relief provisions granted under the Trump administration and the addition of the $1.9 trillion relief plan added to the national debt under the Biden administration. 

Dr. Christopher Thornberg presenting the economic forecast to attendees.

“That’s not costless.” Thornberg warns when referring to the stimulus, “When you are using fiscal policy and borrowing trillions of dollars when you are not using monetary policy and expanding the money supply at a record pace, there are very real consequences to those policy decisions. The gains we got relative to the cost we could face do not match up.”

“Right now, the recession is officially over.” declares Thornberg. The Pandemic Recession’s contraction has officially ended and was extremely short. It seems economic activity bottomed out sometime in April 2020, about 6 weeks after the February peak. Personal Income has gradually been rising since then (with a small dip in late October- early November,) and now we’re back to where we were before everything shut down.

But what about unemployment rates? “We’re below 6% right now. Of course, it’s still a little bit elevated.” But demand for labor isn’t weak, and yet jobs are down. “There were 9.3 million job openings in April. That’s the highest it’s ever been.” This is not a labor demand shortage; this is a labor supply shortage.

Now, why is this happening? Unemployment rates in California were at 7.9% as of May. This is in comparison to the historic high that occurred in April 2020 at 16%. For even more reference California’s historic low was not much before that in November of 2019 at 4.1%. Thornberg wants to make it known that it’s not as simple as ‘people just don’t want to work.’ “Some of it is just basic skill matches. You can’t just take a line cook and turn him into a manufacturing worker. It takes a little time.” This is especially prevalent in this cycle, where certain industries are still behind while others have surpassed pre-covid employment demand.

“Durable goods are way up, Services are way down,” Thornberg says. The fact of the matter is that some industries thrived during the pandemic. While restaurants closed down, sporting and hobby stores got more business than usual. That’s going to create an uneven recovery.

Another factor contributing to this phenomenon is the percentage of unemployed people who are temporarily laid off. “20% of people who are unemployed, well over a million, are actually in a temporary layoff. That means they’re not looking for a job. They’re waiting for their job to go back.”And some may say, ‘Well, there’s high unemployment payments, so people just don’t want to work.” Thornberg explains that it’s not so simple, “People have money in the bank, they’re not under a lot of financial stress. And that may mean they don’t want to work, and it may mean they just don’t want to work here.” He paints the picture for us, “Look; if you have money in the bank, you’re not gonna take the first retail job that shows up. You’re gonna wait for a job that’s gonna give you a career path. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing that people are taking their time.”

“The U.S. and California economies are going to take off like rockets in the second half of this year – and we’ll likely see higher-than-normal growth for at least two years, if not more.” ~ Christopher Thornberg

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


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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