Business activity in the Inland Empire continued on its growth trajectory in the first quarter of 2018 and is expected to expand further throughout the rest of the year, according to the newly released “Inland Empire Business Activity Index.” The Index, which draws on employment and other data, finds that the region’s business activity expanded by 2.2% in the first quarter, on par with U.S. GDP, which grew by 2.3%.
However, looking over the past year—the first quarter of 2017 through the first quarter of 2018— the Inland Empire has significantly outperformed the nation, with business activity growing by 3.8% in the region compared to 2.9% growth for U.S. GDP.
“The Inland Empire’s economy is enjoying the same strong growth trends as the nation as a whole, but at an even more vigorous level – a circumstance that is being largely fueled by robust local job and population growth,” said Robert Kleinhenz, Executive Director of Research at the Center for Economic Forecasting and one of the index authors. “The Inland Empire is the fastest growing job market in all of Southern California, a trend that should continue over the foreseeable future as more households choose to settle in the region over the more expensive coastal counties in Southern California."
Growth has been spread across the region’s industries, large and small, with job gains occurring in every sector from logistics to construction to health care. Looking ahead, business activity in the Inland Empire is forecast to expand between 2.5% and 3.5% in 2018. Eventually, however, growth will be constrained by labor shortages, driven primarily by the state’s high cost of living.
The current “Inland Empire Business Activity Index” is now available. The Index tracks performance of the Inland Empire regional economy on a quarterly basis and is adjusted for seasonal variations. The composite indicator is estimated using a wide range of economic data including employment, economic output, income, real estate, and other indicators at the national, state, and metropolitan level. The Index is produced entirely by the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development.