The Inland Empire has gained back all of the employment/jobs lost due to the COVID-19 problem. Rather than a net loss, the region has grown total payroll employment since the pandemic initially threw global labor markets into disarray.
Increase in Number of Jobs in the Inland Empire
According to a report issued by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development, the Inland Empire’s labor market has already reached its pre-pandemic high, having gained back all of the employment lost due to the COVID-19 problem — and more. Furthermore, the yearly benchmark revision provided by the state’s Economic Development Department, or EDD, reveals that, rather than a net loss, the region has grown total payroll employment since the pandemic initially threw global labor markets into disarray.
The labor market in the Inland Empire had grown by 151,200 jobs since April 2020 and is presently 1.4 percent (or 22,500 jobs) higher than it was in February 2020, just before pandemic-driven public health measures were imposed. Since February 2020, total employment in the region has increased by 0.9 percent, rather than dropping by -2.2 percent as the EDD had predicted.
“The Inland Empire has now reached the point where we can talk about job growth as opposed to recovery. California has recovered 92% of the jobs it lost, and with relatively high vaccination rates and falling hospitalizations, the job expansion at both the state and regional level should continue in 2022.”
~ Taner Osman, Research Manager at the Center for Economic Forecasting and one of the report’s authors
- Inflation Outpaces Wage Growth: Wages in the Inland Empire rose by 2.3 percent from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021 (the most recent statistics available), a slower rate than the prior period. Riverside County had the highest pay rise (3%), and San Bernardino County had the lowest (1.7%), though these gains represent a fall in actual earnings due to today’s historical inflation.
- A Fiery Red Consumer Demand: Consumer expenditure in the Inland Empire has increased by 22.8 percent from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, with taxable revenues rising by 22.8 percent (the latest data available). This trend is mirrored by consumer activity across the country. It is fueled in part by the vast stimulus package provided by the federal government at the start of the epidemic.
- The Cost of Fuel Is Increasing: Fuel and service station taxable revenues in the Inland Empire increased by 56.9% over the previous year. With gas prices at record highs in the first half of 2022, expenditure in this category is virtually guaranteed to continue rising shortly.
- Historic Housing Market: Against a backdrop of historically low inventory, the Inland Empire’s median single-family house price increased by 18.3% from 2020 to the fourth quarter of 2021 (the most recent statistics available) the period at $517,000. Despite the increase, the region remains affordable compared to the rest of Southern California: median property prices in Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego are $860,000, $1.07 million, and $832,000, respectively.
- Apartment Mania: In the Inland Empire, demand for apartments has increased by 17.4 percent in the last year, with asking rates reaching an average of $1,729 per month per unit.
- Even with the rise, rent in the region is still much less expensive than in the counties of Los Angeles ($2,136), Orange ($2,327), and San Diego ($2,155).
- The Warehouse Is Heating Up: The vacancy rate among warehouse properties in the Inland Empire was a low 5% in the latest edition of this study. Despite 4.4 million square feet of new space in the fourth quarter of 2021 (the most recent statistics available), the vacancy rate has declined to 3.6 percent. The fundamental cause of growing warehouse demand is increased consumer spending in E-Commerce.
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