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Sustained economic growth in the Inland Empire: A snapshot for 2021

The region, which encompasses both Riverside and San Bernardino counties, sees continued economic growth surpass U.S. average.

A wide-shot photo of Riverside, Ca
The Raincross Gazette

Economic advancement in the Inland Empire is on track to surpass the national growth trend and return to pre-pandemic levels by the end of the year due to the increase in vaccination status and reduced limitations on businesses. 

According to the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development’s Business Activity Index at the the University of California, Riverside (UCR), the region will continue to see rapid growth and a resurgence in business activity “because it is one of the last relatively affordable housing markets in Southern California.” 

The housing market is leading the way in regional growth with housing prices rising 24.7% between April and July 2021. This is the third highest growth trend in Southern California, giving the Inland Empire a competitive edge in recovery as one of the last affordable housing markets in the state.

Additionally, over the last twelve months Riverside County — one of two counties that make up the Inland Empire — has experienced the second highest median home price increase in the state, only second behind San Joaquin County.  

In the second quarter of 2021, the Inland Empire grew in economic value by 6.6% and is expected to maintain growth at 3%-6% over the next six months. The region continues to outpace national averages of the Real Gross Domestic Product, a competitive edge driving its business recovery.

Despite favorable turnouts, the Inland Empire has been significantly impacted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with challenges still felt in the hospitality and manufacturing industries. However, the quantity of goods and services produced statewide has fallen lower than the national average, allowing for more significant growth than seen in other areas of the county.

“With a large portion of California’s population now vaccinated, the spread of the virus will not have the same impact on the economy as it did in 2020,” the UCR Center for Economic Forecasting and Development’s Business Activity Index predicts.