Inland Empire Consumers, Businesses Spending More

Jobs, taxable sales, and real estate all trending well, says new analysis

An image of the 210 freeway in Riverside.

Data released by UCR’s Center for Economic Forecasting and Development shows that from the 4th quarter of 2014 to the 4th quarter of 2015, the most recent data available, taxable sales in the Inland Empire increased by 6.4%.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — Consumer and business spending in the Inland Empire have been gaining considerable traction, particularly in San Bernardino County, which has seen taxable sales growing at more than twice the rate of Riverside County, according to a new analysis released today by the UC Riverside School of Business Administration Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

From the 4th quarter of 2014 to the 4th quarter of 2015 (the most recent data available as of the report’s writing), taxable sales in the Inland Empire as a whole increased by 6.4%. At the County level, sales jumped by 8.9% in San Bernardino County, compared to 3.7% in Riverside County. Taxable sales growth in both counties, however, outpaced growth in California overall (3%).

The study is the second edition of the Inland Empire Regional Intelligence Report. The report is published three times per year and examines data and intelligence on employment, consumer and business spending, and residential and commercial real estate in the Inland Empire.

The analysis finds that spending increased in nearly every category in the Inland Empire with the exception of Fuel and Service Stations. Spending there posted an 11.2% decline, something that is directly attributable to the significant drop in gasoline prices. The effect is not entirely negative, however.

“Low gas prices may have translated into weakness in Fuel and Service Stations taxable sales, but savings to consumers and businesses at the fuel pump show up in additional spending elsewhere in the economy,” said Robert Kleinhenz, director of research at the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development. “Most importantly, the overall increase in taxable sales reflects the improved economic well-being of households and businesses in the region compared to just a few years ago.”

Other Key Findings:

  • At 14% growth, business spending on Building and Construction increased faster than spending in any other category. On the consumer side, Autos and Transportation spending led the way at 7.9% growth.
  • The Inland Empire’s labor markets returned to form after a slow start to the year. From March 2015 to March 2016, the region added 43,500 jobs, a 3.3% annual growth rate. This outstrips job growth in the state as a whole (2.6%).
  • The median price for a single-family home in the Inland Empire increased to $294,550 in the first quarter of 2016, a 5.9% jump over the same period in 2015. Increased demand is being driven in part by a clear affordability advantage: the average home in the IE costs about 45% less than the average home in Los Angeles County and about 57% less than the average home in Orange County.
  • Industrial properties continue to drive growth in the Inland Empire’s commercial real estate markets. From the first quarter of 2015 to the first quarter of 2016, over 344 million square feet of new warehouse/distribution space came online in the region.

The new Inland Empire Regional Intelligence Report can be found here.

Media Contact

Tel: (951) 827-4580
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Additional Contacts

Christopher Thornberg
Tel: (310) 739-3286

Victoria Pike Bond, Director of Marketing & Communications, Center for Economic Forecasting
Tel: (415) 488-7195

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