Business activity in the Inland Empire advanced solidly in the third quarter of 2018 and is expected to continue its expansion at a relatively swift pace for the rest of the year despite ongoing trade disputes with China, 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 at a 3.2% annualized rate in the third quarter of 2018, slightly behind the growth rate of U.S. GDP, which increased by 3.5%.
Looking over the past year, however (third quarter 2017 through third quarter 2018), the Inland Empire has outperformed the nation, with business activity growing by 3.2% in the region compared to 3.0% growth for U.S. GDP.
“We hear a lot about the impressive job growth of the Inland Empire, but the UCR Business Activity Index offers a more comprehensive view of overall business activity in the region,” said Robert Kleinhenz, Executive Director of Research at the Center for Economic Forecasting and one of the index authors. “The steady increases we have seen in the Index tell us that the area is benefitting from broad-based growth that is occurring across several industries and not exclusively from the large local logistics sector.”
Although still trending below peak levels, construction employment in the Inland Empire has advanced nicely so far in 2018 (+6.2% year-to-date). This job growth is also evidenced by construction activity in the region: the total value of building permits increased 20.5% percent through the first three quarters of 2018.
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.