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Inland economic growth may be boxed in by housing lag

By in Press Enterprise on December 26, 2017

By Richard K. De Atley

The Inland area’s economy grew during 2017, surpassing statewide numbers in employment increases and taxable sales, but along with the rest of California faces a possible drag on future growth as new housing lags behind population growth both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, an analysis concludes.

While residential construction in the area grew for the Inland area this year, “considerably more building over several years will be necessary to alleviate Southern California’s need for additional housing,” concluded a Regional Intelligence Report from the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecast & Development.

Otherwise, the local economy is projected to continue expanding in 2018, the report said, pushed by expected sustained passenger increases at Ontario International Airport, the Pechanga Resort & Casino’s $285 million expansion, and overall growth in commercial and industrial real estate.

Nonfarm employment in the area rose 3 percent from October 2016 to October 2017, twice California’s 1.5 percent gain for the same period, the report said. For large metro areas, the Inland job growth numbers beat Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Jose, the report said.

Job growth has been broad-based for the Inland area, especially in construction and leisure and hospitality, with good markers for overall job growth: The workforce grew by 27,700 year over year through October, but household employment grew by 48,700 for the same period.

Constructions jobs, while up, are still 18.4 percent below the pre-Great Recession peak, the report notes.

Wage growth lagged behind California’s, but was ahead of the national rate, the report said. Taxable sales for the entire Inland area increased 5.4 percent over the first three quarters of 2017, outpacing California’s 4.1 percent.

The Inland area had a median price of $333,000 for all types of single-family homes in the third quarter of 2017, far lower than neighboring counties, the report […]    

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