The Inland Empire is projected to be one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country through 2020, according to a new report. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

The Inland Empire is projected to be one of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country through 2020, according to a new report. (Katie Falkenberg / Los Angeles Times)

Chris Kirkham
June 20, 2104

The Inland Empire east of Los Angeles is projected to be one of the fastest-growing large metropolitan area economies in the country over the next six years, according to a forecast released Friday at the United States Conference of Mayors.

The economic study prepared by IHS Global Insight estimates that economic growth in the Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario economy will be the highest in California, for an average of 4.2% through 2020. Growth in the Inland Empire is projected to be ahead of other fast-growing metros, including the Phoenix and Houston areas.

The report also estimates that the Bakersfield area will be among the top 10 fastest-growing large metropolitan areas, a group that includes the top 100 largest regions.

The Los Angeles/Orange County region is projected to grow more slowly, the report found, at an average of about 2.9% through 2020 — less than other large California metro areas such as San Jose, Sacramento and San Francisco.

Jim Diffley, a senior director with IHS Economics who prepared the report, said that part of the Inland Empire’s rapid projected growth comes after the huge real estate bust during the mortgage meltdown and the Great Recession.

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