The Inland Empire has clawed back jobs lost during coronavirus-related public health lockdowns and ensuing business closures, but wages for most professions are failing to keep up with runaway inflation, report says published today by the Center for Economics at UC Riverside School of Business. Forecast.
“The Inland Empire has now reached the point where we can talk about job growth as opposed to recovery,” the center’s director of research, Taner Osman, said in the Spring 2022 regional intelligence report.
Osman pointed to data from the California Department of Employment Development indicating that, compared to April 2020 – the first full month of lockdown – the region added 151,200 jobs, a figure slightly higher than the total number of positions documented as lost due to restrictions.
However, the optimistic development is tempered by 40-year-high levels of inflation currently hitting consumers’ wallets and pushing up business spending, according to the report.
From the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, nominal wage growth in Riverside County was 3%, but “these increases mark a decline in real wages due to today’s historic inflation,” says The report.
For the 12 months ending in February, the headline inflation rate was about 8% nationwide, the highest since 1982, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fuel prices – based on a gallon of regular gasoline – have risen just over 50% over the same one-year period, according to the Auto Club.
“Spending in this category is almost certain to continue to soar in the near term,” according to the UCR report.
He noted that house prices have also been rising at a blistering pace, with asking prices in the Inland Empire rising 18% in the year-over-year period ending in the fourth quarter of 2021.
“Despite the increase, relative to the rest of Southern California, the region continues to be a haven of affordability,” the report said.
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