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California job growth must push through possible COVID-19 resurgence

California’s economy has added nearly 600,000 jobs over the past five months, the largest surge the state has seen since the summer of 2020.

According to a report published by Beacon Economics LLC, an independent business research and consulting firm, Southern California and the Inland Empire in particular is leading the strongest job recovery for the state. The Inland Empire saw 73.2 percent of jobs recovered since April of last year, the worst of the labor market fallout.

The report goes on to say that while California is seeing massive growth, it remains well below pre-pandemic employment rates and some job sectors are not bouncing back even though government mandates are slowly loosening.

According to Adam Fowler, director of research for Beacon Economics as well for the UC Riverside School of Business, California may never again see pre-pandemic trends.

“The possibility of a virus resurgence is concerning because there are large sectors in Southern California, especially hospitality and tourism, that will never look the same as before the pandemic,” Fowler said. “Because there is some impact on consumers’ decision-making, it doesn’t mean everything’s doom and gloom but it does mean consumer activity has shifted because money isn’t being spent in exactly the same way. So, the world is going to be different in subtle ways.”

While this continues to be a concern for employees in affected sectors, the rise in job openings may be a bright spot on the timeline of pandemic recovery.