BY TIFFANY RAY
STAFF WRITER
tray@pe.com

Published: 03 November 2011 06:02 AM

The Inland economy will continue to lag behind the state and the U.S., but it will not fall back into recession, according to a new forecast by Beacon Economics.

The region is showing signs of stability, the report said, with employment up 1 percent over last year, incomes increasing, and higher consumer spending pushing sales tax receipts up 16 percent from a couple of years ago.

Some Inland improvements are the result of “spill-over” from coastal regions, where job growth is stronger, the report said, but they are nonetheless helping to get the local economy back on track.

“The data simply does not support these hyped-up proclamations that we are headed for a double-dip recession,” Christopher Thornberg, founding partner at Beacon, said in a news release. “Digging out from the ‘Great Recession’ was never going to be easy, the economy is still way behind where it should be at this stage in the business cycle, but the recovery is under way, nationally and in Inland Southern California.”

Business leaders are gathered in Riverside this morning to discuss the Beacon report, released today in partnership with the University of California-Riverside, and how to improve the regional economy during the Inland Southern California Economic Forecast Conference at the Riverside Convention Center.

According to the forecast, the Inland region will see steady growth in employment over the next five years, led by demand in health care, trade, transportation and utilities. Even the housing market is starting to stabilize, the report said, and moderate improvements in home sales, home prices and permits are expected starting in the current quarter.

“The worst of the downturn is behind us, and prices have moved off of the bottom, rising from the median price of $156,000 seen in the second quarter of 2009,” the report said. That was the low point for prices after tumbling from a peak median price of $393,000 pre-recession.

Although foreclosures have been increasing, it’s because banks are resuming foreclosures after a temporary slowdown during the scandal involving “robo-signing” procedures. Defaults are edging down.

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