Jim Steinberg, Staff Writer
Posted: 12/06/2012 12:02:09 AM PST

The San Bernardino-Riverside county economy is staging a broad recovery that includes industries ranging from construction to hospitality, an economic report being released today says.

The two-county area is again pulling ahead of other regions in the state in terms of growth in home prices and new residential and nonresidential construction, said the forecast, written by Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics and released in partnership with the UC Riverside School of Business Administration.

“The Inland Empire has started moving forward. It’s not a blistering pace, but it is up,” said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics.

“Everything is moving in the right direction,” he said. And it should continue that way, unless decisions in Washington “push us into an austerity recession.”

He was referring to a schism between congressional Republicans and the White House over taxation and other budget issues – known as the “fiscal cliff.”

Experts say if no compromise is reached by the end of the year, the result will be higher taxes, which will pull money out of the economy, as will cuts in programs.

“In this region the new growth is beginning to help bolster the underlying tax bases for local governments,” the forecast said.

Helping to give cities a needed boost is a surge in vehicle sales, up 17percent over the first half of 2011 and building material sales, up more than 11 percent.

“Beacon Economics is forecasting that Inland Southern California, which was one of the state’s fast-growing areas before the housing bubble collapsed, will resume its place as the leading edge of the recovery in the coming years, despite getting off to a relatively slow start,” he said.

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