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Ten years after the great recession gave it a knock out punch The Inland Empire has the fastest job growth among Southern Californias powerhouse economies



Longer Term Vulnerabilities – Labor Shortages, Trade War Impacts, Surging National Debt – Challenge Future Economic Growth For Nation, State, and Region
October 11, 2018— RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Although the Inland Empire was hit harder by the Great Recession than most places in the nation, its economy today looks very different, according to an new economic forecast released at the 9th annual Inland Empire Economic Forecast Conference. For the second year in a row, the region is home to the fastest job growth in Southern California, and, according to the analysis, when looking at pre-recession job peaks, is the most improved among the major surrounding metros of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Orange Counties.
From peak to trough, the Inland Empire lost 150,000 jobs and nonfarm employment fell 11.6%. Since bottoming out, however, the region has gained well over 350,000 jobs and nonfarm employment has increased 31%. 
“When an economy falls further during a downturn, it generally experiences a stronger relative recovery, but economic growth in the Inland Empire has been gaining momentum in recent years and is being strongly driven by its sharp affordability advantage, which has led to significant population gains,” said Christopher Thornberg  Director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and one of the report authors. “And although there are longer term threats to the economy that stem from labor shortages, Federal trade policies, and our hugely expanded national debt, growth is expected to continue through the next year at the local, state, and national level.“
The Inland Empire also stands out because it is the most improved Southern California economy, according to the analysis. Compared to its pre-recession peak, the Inland Empire today has 16.1% more jobs; this surpasses Los Angeles (+5.6%), Orange (+6.6%), and San Diego (+11.0%) Counties, as well as the state (+10.6%) and nation (+7.7%). 
“The progress the Inland Empire economy has made over the past couple of years is the latest phase in a years-long growth wave that has included broad-based employment gains across most industries, higher income and more local spending, rising home prices, and, as of late, increased construction activity,” said Robert Kleinhenz Executive Director of Research at the Center and one of the report authors. “But growth is going to moderate in the relatively near future as a limited supply of workers will put a check on the region’s expansion.”
According to both Kleinhenz and Thornberg, there is a critical need to address California’s high housing costs and its labor shortages across skill levels in order to ensure healthy economic growth in the Inland Empire and beyond. The new forecast delivers current outlooks for the U.S., California, and Inland Empire economies.
Select Key Findings:
  • The jobs forecast in the Inland Empire calls for continued gains, with total nonfarm employment expected to grow between 2.5% and 3.0% in the near term, while the unemployment rate will drop to less than 4% in 2019.
  • The Inland Empire’s renowned Logistics industry is the region’s most improved, having nearly doubled in size over the past decade and with employment 90% above its pre-recession peak. The effects from the current trade tariffs, however, are yet to be seen.
  • The region has also enjoyed gains elsewhere, notably in Construction, Health Care, and Retail Trade, responding to continued growth in the region’s population and business activity.
  • As of the second quarter of 2018, the median nominal price of an existing single-family home in San Bernardino County was 17.2% below its pre-recession peak, while in Riverside County it was 9.7% less. If current trends continue, the forecast has nominal home prices in the region surpassing their pre-recession peak in 2020.
  • Growth in the U.S. economy looks solid for the rest of this year but will slow in 2019. Additionally, while there is no reason to expect a recession anytime soon, the long term stressors of heavy Federal borrowing, rising interest rates, and policy uncertainties, substantially diminish the nation’s capacity to absorb a blow to its economy; it won’t take much to end the current expansion.
  • High housing costs will impede California’s economic growth over the long-term to the extent they deter the state’s labor force from expanding. California’s labor force growth rate has slowed significantly since the fall of 2017, with year-to-year growth at just 0.2% as of July 2018.
The 9th annual Inland Empire Economic Forecast Conference is being held on October 11th at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, CA. In addition to forecasts for the nation, state, and region, the event includes a drilled down outlook for commercial real estate markets in the Inland Empire, illuminating current and future trends in retail, office, and industrial properties.
An embargoed copy of the forecast book can be downloaded in its entirety here. To attend the event, please contact Victoria Pike Bond (see above) for a press pass. 
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 is dedicated to economic forecasting and policy research focused on the region, state, and nation. Learn more at

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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Career & Workplace

California Continues to Struggle with Labor Supply as Employment Expands Modestly



State’s Unemployment Rate Remains Highest In Nation

California’s labor market expanded modestly in April, with total nonfarm employment in the state growing by 5,200 positions over the month, according to an analysis released today by Beacon Economics. March’s gains were revised down to 18,200 in the latest numbers, a 10,100 decline from the preliminary estimate of 28,300.

As of April 2024, California has recovered all of the jobs that were lost in March and April 2020, and there are now 314,300 more people employed in the state compared to February 2020. Total nonfarm employment has grown 1.8% over this time compared to a 3.9% increase in the United States overall. California increased payrolls by 1.2% from April 2023 to April 2024, trailing the 1.8% increase nationally over the same period.

The state’s unemployment rate held steady at 5.3% in April 2024, unchanged from the previous month. California’s unemployment rate is the highest in the nation and remains elevated relative to the 3.9% rate in the United States as a whole. The state continues to struggle with its labor supply, which remained essentially unchanged in April (declining by a negligible 100). Since February 2020, California’s labor force has fallen by -246,200 workers, a -1.3% decline. In comparison, over the past twelve months the nation’s labor force has increased by 0.8%. 

Industry Profile  

  • At the industry level, job gains were mixed in April. Health Care led the way with payrolls expanding by 10,100, an increase of 0.4% on a month-over-month basis. With these gains Health Care payrolls are now 13.6% above their pre-pandemic peak.
  • Other sectors posting strong gains during the month were Transportation, Warehousing, and Utilities (3,700 or 0.4%), Leisure and Hospitality (3,100 or 0.2%), Government (2,600 or 0.1%), Education (1,800 or 0.4%), Retail Trade (1,000 or 0.1%), and Wholesale Trade (400 or 0.1%).
  • Payrolls decreased a handful of sectors in April. Construction experienced the largest declines, with payrolls falling by -6,000, a contraction of -0.6% on a month-over-month basis. Note that this decline was largely due to late season storms affecting construction projects across the state.
  • Other sectors posting significant declines during the month were Manufacturing (-5,300 or -0.4%), Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (-3,600 or -0.3%), Real Estate (-700 or -0.2%), Finance and Insurance (-700 or -0.1%), Administrative Support (-600 or -0.1%), and Information (-600 or -0.1%).

Regional Profile

  • Regionally, job gains were led by Southern California. Los Angeles (MD) saw the largest increase, where payrolls grew by 5,700 (0.2%) during the month. The Inland Empire (2,600 or 0.2%) and San Diego (1,200 or 0.1%) also saw their payrolls jump during the month. However, payrolls fell in Orange County (-2,700 or -0.2%), Ventura (-500 or -0.2%), and El Centro (-2,200 or -0.3%). Over the past year, El Centro (1.9%) has had the fastest job growth in the region, followed by the Inland Empire (1.5%), Ventura (1.4%), Orange County (1.1%), San Diego (0.8%), and Los Angeles (MD) (0.6%).
  • In the Bay Area, the East Bay experienced the largest increase, with payrolls expanding by 2,600 (0.2%) positions in April. San Rafael (MD) (200 or 0.2%) and Napa (100 or 0.1%) also saw payrolls increase during the month. However, San Francisco (MD) (-1,700 or -0.1%), Santa Rosa (-600 or -0.3%), and Vallejo (-600 or -0.2%) experienced payroll declines during the month. Over the past 12 months, Vallejo (3.0%) enjoyed the fastest job growth in the region, followed by Santa Rosa (2.3%), Napa (2.2%), San Rafael (MD) (1.6%), the East Bay (0.9%), San Jose (0.2%), and San Francisco (MD) (-0.8%).
  • In the Central Valley, Sacramento experienced the largest monthly increase as payrolls expanded by 900 (0.1%) positions in April. Payrolls in Yuba (400 or 0.8%), Bakersfield (300 or 0.1%), Fresno (300 or 0.1%), and Visalia (100 or 0.1%) increased as well. However, payrolls fell in Stockton (-500 or -0.2%), Modesto (-200 or -0.1%), Merced (-200 or -0.3%), Redding (-100 or -0.1%), and Hanford (-100 or -0.2%). Over the past year, Madera (5.7%) had the fastest growth, followed by Yuba (4.2%), Merced (3.7%), Modesto (3.6%), Sacramento (2.5%), Hanford (2.4%), Redding (2.3%), Fresno (2.2%), Visalia (2.1%), Stockton (2.0%), Chico (1.5%), and Bakersfield (1.1%).
  • On California’s Central Coast, Salinas (200 or 0.1%) and Santa Cruz (200 or 0.2%) added the largest number of jobs during the month. Santa Barbara (-100 or -0.1%) saw payrolls decline. From April 2023 to April 2024, Salinas (1.9%) has added jobs at the fastest rate, followed by Santa Cruz (1.6%), Santa Barbara (0.8%), and San Luis Obispo (0.5%).
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Career & Workplace

Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity (IEGO) Announces 2024 Priorities



Strategic Vision: Prioritizing Sustainable Growth and Enhanced Opportunities in the Inland Region

The Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity (IEGO), a collaborative organization dedicated to fostering economic growth, has announced its 2024 strategic priorities designed to create a vibrant, inclusive, and sustainable economy for Southern California’s Inland Empire. Among its immediate priorities include its role in Governor Newsom’s California Jobs First regional jobs strategy.

“As one of the California Jobs First statewide collaboratives, IEGO is committed to engaging a wide ranging and diverse group of stakeholders in our economic development focus so that we can improve the quality of life for all residents across the region,” said IEGO Executive Director Matthew Mena.

IEGO’s strategy is critical. While Inland Southern California remains one of California’s top job growth markets, it also ranks as having the lowest average weekly wages according to employment data for the nation’s 50 largest county job markets as reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The IEGO 2024 priorities are designed to counter that trend and encourage greater business investment, including:

California Jobs First: IEGO will develop Inland Southern California’s regional jobs strategy to create quality jobs and a more accessible economy as part of Governor Newsom’s very intentional, inclusive approach to economic and workforce development to maximize state resources and investments by empowering communities to chart their own futures. Much of the funding will support career development projects from capacity building to industry-specific programs, and new job training.

Center of Excellence: As one of the state’s designated Center of Excellence, IEGO will support the region’s community colleges and their partners by providing research on the local labor market, including information on job growth, wages, demographics, top employers, education, and skill requirements, as well as education outcomes for industries and occupations critical to the Inland Empire’s economy. This data will help inform the development of new community college programs, curriculum, and partnerships that the colleges pursue in their efforts to prepare residents for high-paying, fast-growing jobs that Inland Empire businesses need today and in the future. 

Regional Marketing: IEGO will work to ensure that the region is well positioned to benefit from public and private investment and is fully recognized for its economic strength and opportunity. In this way, IEGO can enhance the delivery of public and private resources to the two-county region.

“There’s real opportunity for the IEGO Center of Excellence to lead deeper economic and workforce research. One of the immediate areas is our Top 50 Jobs report. We want to better identify the best job opportunities and pathways for workers in struggling families to make ends meet and build wealth,” said Andy Hall, who is leading report development for the Center of Excellence.

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Career & Workplace

The City of Rancho Cucamonga Recognized as U.S. Best-in-Class Employer by Gallagher 



Gallagher’s Best-in-Class Benchmarking Analysis Identifies U.S. Organizations That Excel in Optimizing Employee and Organizational Wellbeing 

The City of Rancho Cucamonga participated in Gallagher’s 2023 U.S. Benefits Strategy & Benchmarking Survey and was identified as an organization that excelled in implementing successful strategies for managing people and programs. The City of Rancho Cucamonga was recognized for its comprehensive framework for strategically investing in benefits, compensation and employee communication to support the health, financial security and career growth of its employees at a sustainable cost structure. 

Designations like Gallagher’s Best-in-Class Employer help current and potential employees understand and appreciate an organization’s workplace culture and people strategy; important differentiators as employers compete for talent in today’s labor market. 

“This award is a testament to the collective dedication and unwavering commitment of our team, reflecting the high standards we uphold in fostering a workplace that thrives on innovation, belonging, and employee well-being.” Robert Neiuber, Senior Human Resources Director, City of Rancho Cucamonga. 

A U.S. Best-in-Class Employer, the City of Rancho Cucamonga was assigned points based on its relative performance in: 

  • Plan horizons for benefits and compensation strategies 
  • Extent of the wellbeing strategy 
  • Turnover rate for full-time equivalents (FTEs) 
  • Completion of a workforce engagement survey 
  • Use of an HR technology strategy and its level of sophistication 
  • Difference in healthcare costs over the prior year 
  • Use of a communication strategy 

The City of Rancho Cucamonga understands that high employee expectations haven’t budged in the changing labor market and have regularly examined their formula to attract and retain talent,” said William F. Ziebell, CEO of Gallagher’s Benefits & HR Consulting Division. “In doing so, the City of Rancho Cucamonga utilizes data, workforce feedback tools and clearly defined policies to provide competitive benefits and experiences that their employees value.” 

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