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U.S. Economic Growth: Better Than Expected But Not as Good at IT Appears Says New Forecast; Still, no Recession in Sight



California Shifts To A Lower Pace of Job Growth

June 13, 2019—LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA—Despite the United States economy being on the edge of its longest expansion in history and a plethora of negative outlooks on the economy, a new forecast released today by Beacon Economics says there is no reason to anticipate a downturn until at least beyond 2020. While the new outlook warns of a slowdown in the nation’s economy, something that is already occurring, it argues that nothing on near-term horizon has the capacity to cause a contraction.

“We simply do not see the kinds of imbalances or rapid shifts that would be forceful enough or deep enough to push the economy into recession,” said Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics and one of the forecast authors. “It’s certainly not going to happen in 2019, and highly unlikely to occur next year.” Thornberg is quick to point out, however, that no one should expect the expansion to reach or maintain 2018 levels and is forecasting the pace of U.S. economic growth to decelerate to approximately 2% this year. The slowdown is being driven by a number of sources including the end of the short-term stimulative effects created by the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, intensifying trade disputes with key trading partners, and financial market wobbles that will keep investors looking for safety.

The new forecast points to the first quarter of 2019 as evidence of moderating growth. Although on the surface the nation’s 3.1% growth rate was one of the fastest in recent years, half of that expansion comes from highly transitional sources, including a large drop in imports and a build-up in business inventories. Growth in final demand in the first quarter was a weak 1.5%, the worst showing since 2015.

Perhaps the biggest threat currently facing the U.S. economy is the potential of spiraling trade disputes with China, and possibly Mexico and Europe. However, even that threat has been hyped to a level that exceeds reality, according to the forecast. The tariffs have indeed been a negative challenge for the groups and businesses directly impacted by them, but at its current level, the turbulence is not a threat to broader economic growth. That could change, however, if the disputes balloon or spread.

Additionally, the forecast raises concerns about the potential long-run consequence of conflating trade policy with foreign policy, as it appears the current administration is willing to do. “The trade-related actions now being taken by the U.S. undermine the nation as a protector of free trade in the broader global community,” said Thornberg. “Even if we win a specific trade war, the chaotic threats and unilateral policy choices destabilize the international trading system, and harm cooperative global political efforts at a time when governments around the world really need to address challenges in a collective way.”

Key Findings:

  • U.S. consumer spending was weak in January and February, but in March recorded one of the largest jumps in a decade and was solid in April. The U.S. personal savings rate also increased in the first quarter indicating that the slower growth in spending was not being generated by income issues. All this suggests solid consumer spending numbers for the balance of 2019.
  • Residential real estate has been a modest drag on the U.S. economy for over a year now. The market has swooned but will likely get a boost in the second half of the year given strong fundamentals and one of the tightest housing markets in decades.
  • A counter-weight on the otherwise good fundamentals of the U.S. economy is the nation’s debt. The Federal government borrowed over $1 trillion in 2018 to cover the gap between revenues and expenses, twice the pace of 2017 and the worst showing since 2012 when the nation was clawing its way out of the Great Recession. While a public debt crisis is still far in the future, such misguided policy choices bring the day of reckoning closer.
  • California’s economy has shifted to a lower pace of job growth in the first part of 2019 and will remain on that slower trajectory. Job growth in the state will continue, however, led by the tech-fueled economies of the San Francisco Bay Area.
  • Despite the jobs slowdown, California continues on an impressive growth path with Gross State Product advancing by a 3.5% rate in 2018, faster than the nation as a whole and among the fastest growing states.
  • California’s housing market may perform better this year than many expect. The 30-year fixed interest rate recently dropped to 4% and softer prices are expected due to an increase in the supply of homes for sale. Expect sales to improve in the second and third quarters of 2019 and the median price to advance modestly.

Download the full forecast for additional insights.

Beacon Economics is an independent economic research and consulting firm based in Los Angeles. This analysis was authored by Christopher Thornberg and Robert Kleinhenz. 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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Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce Welcomes Hawaii Chamber as Honorary Global Member



Empowering Future Generations: IERCC and Chamber of Commerce Hawaii Forge Partnership for Youth Development

In a landmark meeting that signifies the growing collaboration between regional chambers of commerce, the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) proudly welcomed the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii as an Honorary Global Member. This momentous occasion was marked by a ceremonial presentation led by Eddy Sumar, MBA, CCE, CICE, a distinguished member and Chair of the Education and Youth Skills Development Liaison at IERCC.

Eddy Sumar, renowned for his passionate advocacy for youth education and skill development, met with Sherry Menor-McNamara, CCE, President & CEO, and Tyler Hunt, Associate Vice President of Membership Services, of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii. The meeting was not just a formal presentation but also an opportunity to share the innovative approaches IERCC is employing to champion youth development.

In a unique and inspiring gesture, the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii representatives were introduced to IERCC’s youth initiatives through a trilogy of educational books authored by Eddy Sumar himself. These books – “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS,” “The Hidden Dreams,” and “The Cutting Edge” – are a testament to Sumar’s dedication to empowering the youth. Each book addresses critical areas of youth development:

  • “A Treasure Hunt With OTIS” provides wisdom to guide young lives.
  • “The Hidden Dreams” unlocks the potential of identifying and pursuing youthful aspirations.
  • “The Cutting Edge” offers vital insights into understanding credit and financial literacy.

Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce, expressed his enthusiasm for this new partnership, stating, “This collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii represents a significant step in our ongoing commitment to foster the leaders of tomorrow. By combining our resources and expertise, we can more effectively prepare our youth for the dynamic world they will inherit. Our shared vision for youth development and education is the cornerstone of this partnership.”

The Chamber of Commerce Hawaii expressed its enthusiasm for the collaboration, recognizing the value of the resources provided by IERCC. This partnership is a significant step towards a shared goal of fostering a brighter future for youth through education, skill development, and empowerment.

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce is enthusiastically developing plans to launch a summer internship program exclusively for students from the Inland Empire, offering them the opportunity to travel to Hawaii for this enriching experience. This initiative, which stems from the IERCC’s recent collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, is focused on providing Inland Empire students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the diverse business and cultural environment of Hawaii. The program aims to equip these students with invaluable hands-on experience in various industries, enhancing their skills and broadening their perspectives. This visionary approach underscores the IERCC’s dedication to fostering the professional and personal growth of its youth, preparing them for successful careers in an increasingly interconnected world.

The IERCC is committed to continuing these collaborative efforts and looks forward to a fruitful and impactful partnership with the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, collectively striving to nurture the leaders of tomorrow.

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Corona Factory Files Landmark Trade Secret Lawsuit in New Hampshire Federal Court



Leading Private Label Company Alleges Massive Data Breach by SGS North America, Inc., Threatening Millions in Investment and Profits

Amid a surge of corporate theft nationwide, U.S. Continental Marketing, Inc. has initiated trade secret litigation against SGS North America, Inc. alleging misappropriation of proprietary and confidential chemical formulations that may cost U.S. Continental millions of dollars.

The largest private label leather and fabric care company in the world, U.S. Continental operates out of a 100,000 square foot factory in Corona, California, and partners with popular footwear, fashion, and furniture brands such as Birkenstock, Timberland, and Michael Kors to develop a range of products. The company provides commercial packaging solutions as well.

In its complaint filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, U.S. Continental alleges that earlier this year, it spent millions to develop five unique and secret chemical formulations for an unnamed customer for use on branded textiles. Those formulas were sent to SGS North America for independent testing.  David Williams, U.S. Continental’s President, explains, “Leading up to its testing, we made very clear to SGS that the confidentiality of any and all information about our formulations was critical. Third parties, and even our customers, could not be privy to our proprietary data and SGS knew that.”

Williams added, “To put a finer point on the sensitivity of the formulations in question, we negotiated an ironclad NDA with SGS, which it signed, promising not to disclose confidential information related to our formulations to anyone without written approval.”

U.S. Continental’s complaint alleges that despite its assurances, SGS twice sent detailed, unredacted testing reports directly to the customer in August, revealing specifics about the chemical formulations SGS promised to keep under wraps.

According to Williams, “By virtue of SGS’s indiscretion, which one of its Vice Presidents cavalierly claimed was a ‘mistake,’ our customer was sent all the information it needed to manufacture essential chemical formulations on its own. That puts at risk the $2 million we invested in R&D, along with another $20 million or so in profits from our manufacturing agreement with the customer. It only gets worse from there if SGS discloses our proprietary information—which it refuses to return—to any others.”

Jeffrey Farrow, a partner at Michelman & Robinson, LLP, which represents U.S. Continental along with local counsel in New Hampshire, says, “It’s beyond crucial that trade secrets, like my client’s chemical formulations, be carefully safeguarded. By failing to do so, SGS breached its NDA—a breach that continues given that the data at issue has yet to be returned despite multiple requests from U.S. Continental. This is simply unacceptable and through this lawsuit, we want SGS to know that its unlawful disclosure of trade secrets, and unlawful retention of them, won’t go unchecked.”

The lawsuit is currently pending and U.S. Continental is awaiting a response from SGS.

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Business Partners with Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce to Launch California Pavilion



In a landmark initiative,, a global leader in e-commerce, has announced a strategic partnership with the Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce (IERCC) to bolster business opportunities for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in California. This historic collaboration is set to unveil the California Pavilion on, a pioneering platform promoting the “Made in California” brand to a global audience.

Join us for a special event where Mattia Miglio, Director of North America Business Development at, will introduce the California Pavilion alongside representatives from the IERCC. This digital hub is the first of its kind, designed to connect California’s SMEs with international buyers, importers, and distributors, marking a significant milestone in global business expansion.

This initiative sees the convergence of several key trade associations including the California Trade Alliance, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and Valley Industry & Commerce Association, all coming together to transform the SME landscape in California.

As part of the California Pavilion, members will receive an exclusive membership package offering numerous benefits designed to elevate businesses to new heights. This initiative not only supports business growth but also aligns with Alibaba’s vision of empowering SMEs in the global market.

The Inland Empire Regional Chamber of Commerce stands as a pivotal partner in this venture. Known for its innovative approaches and customized support for businesses, the IERCC plays a crucial role in guiding enterprises in the Inland Empire, from startups to established companies.

“We are thrilled to partner with in this groundbreaking initiative. The California Pavilion is more than just a digital platform; it’s a beacon of opportunity for small and medium-sized enterprises across California. This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to empowering local businesses, giving them the tools and exposure they need to thrive in the global marketplace. We believe that through this partnership, we can elevate the ‘Made in California’ brand to new heights and open doors for unprecedented growth and success for our members”, stated Edward Ornelas, Jr., President & CEO of the IE Chamber.

We invite businesses to explore the advantages of joining the California Pavilion. Learn how this platform can revolutionize your business prospects and connect you with the global market.

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