2017 Ends On High Note For The Inland Empire Economy

New analysis says job and population growth may be stymied by lack of housing

The Inland Empire’s economy may face headwinds in 2018.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — As 2017 comes to a close, the Inland Empire’s strong economic expansion continues, although its capacity for growth may be shrinking, according to a new analysis released today by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.

While other areas of the state are experiencing a slowdown, employment in the Inland Empire increased 3 percent from October 2016 to October 2017, twice the growth rate of the state (1.5 percent). Over this period, the region added proportionally more jobs than any of the state’s other large metro areas.

The robust job expansion comes hand-in-hand with a jump in the local population, according to the analysis. The region’s population growth from 2016 to 2017 placed Riverside County in the top five and San Bernardino County in the top 10 fastest growing counties in California.

“The IE’s recent population growth is indicative of a vigorous economy with the strength to draw in new residents,” said Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of research at the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development at the UC Riverside School of Business. “That’s not surprising, given this is an area that is both leading the state in job growth and benefiting from a significant home affordability advantage compared to neighboring areas in Southern California.”

The forecast for 2018 is similar. However, growing demand for housing may limit the regional economy’s ability to expand. While the demand for residential real estate has fueled a long-awaited increase in local home construction, considerably more building will be needed to alleviate the housing shortage across the region and state.

The new Inland Empire Regional Intelligence Report examines employment, consumer and business spending, and residential and commercial real estate. Please view the complete analysis here.

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