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The Inland Empire should see steady economic growth through 2022

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Local, regional forecasts to be unveiled Thursday at SCAG Economic Summit

The Inland Empire is poised for steady economic growth in 2022 as it moves past the “significant short-term pressures” brought on by the COVID-19 downturn, a new forecast shows.

The report, prepared for the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) by top economists, offers a promising, but cautious post-pandemic forecast for Southern California as a whole, noting that the strength, resilience and diversity of the regional economy helped avoid what could have been a far more serious recession.

For San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the strength of the logistics sector has and will continue to provide a competitive advantage, with the surge in e-commerce and goods movement generally since the start of the pandemic. The sector actually added 21,100 jobs in the Inland Empire in 2020 and is on track for at least another 26,800 this year. Overall, the IE should see a gain of 69,000 jobs in 2021, more than offsetting the 65,692 jobs lost in 2020.

As is the case throughout Southern California, the IE’s hospitality sector has not fared quite as well, as a result of pandemic-related closures for much of 2020 and into 2021. Restaurants, stores, entertainment venues and hotels “are slowly recovering, but the Delta variant has inhibited them due to a continuing need for masks and people’s fears,” the report states.

“As one of California’s fastest-growing population and economic centers before the pandemic, the Inland Empire has been well positioned to weather the downturn of the past 18 months. Even with the challenges COVID has created, we believe 2022 and beyond hold great promise for our two counties,” said Jan Harnik, Mayor Pro Tem for Palm Desert and First Vice President of SCAG.

“With all that we’ve got going for us, it’s no surprise that the Inland Empire is experiencing one of the strongest recoveries, not only in California but across the United States. We’ve got the transportation network, the workforce, the business climate and quality of life to continue to drive us forward in 2022 and beyond,” said Alan D. Wapner, a Past President of SCAG, Mayor pro Tem for the City of Ontario and President of the Ontario International Airport Authority Board of Commissioners.

For Southern California as a whole, most of the economists who participated in the SCAG study expect that the region will regain all pre-pandemic employment losses by mid-2023. Today, the six counties that comprise SCAG are more than a half million (507,000) jobs below their February 2020 totals, even after having added 1.21 million over the past 19 months. As a result, the region’s unemployment rate – 7.2% in September –has remained above both the state and national averages.

“We are starting to see what the post-COVID economy will look like, and it’s clear that we have significant challenges and opportunities ahead,” said Clint Lorimore, President of SCAG and an Eastvale City Councilmember. “On the plus side, Southern California’s role as a supply chain leader has never been more important. We’re also seeing remarkable advances in technology and innovation across multiple industry sectors. At the same time, our tourism industry was essentially shut down for months, while staffing shortages have hurt many of our retailers, restaurants, manufacturers, trucking operations and small businesses.”

The report was released Thursday, December 2, during SCAG’s 12th Annual Southern California Summit, “From Inclusive Recovery to Inclusive Growth.” More than 400 leaders in business, public policy, housing and education participated in the virtual summit.

“Across our region, COVID-19 has provided clarity on the strengths and weaknesses within our economic structure. While we are optimistic about 2022 and beyond, we also have our work cut out for us to ensure that we grow the right way, with a resilient and inclusive recovery,” said Kome Ajise, SCAG Executive Director.

The Inland Empire portion of the economic outlook was prepared by John Husing, Principal at Economics & Politics Inc. A copy of the complete report for the six-county region is available on request.

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

Business

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

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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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Business

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

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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: economy.iechamber.org

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

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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 webbinvestments.com.

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