Wages in San Bernardino and Riverside counties increased 2.8 percent in the first three months of 2019, the UCR School of Business’ Center for Economic Forecasting and Development reported.

By Jack Katzanek | jkatzanek@scng.com |
Published: April 1, 2019 at 8:00 am | Updated: April 1, 2019 at 8:00 am

More cash made its way to Inland Empire workers in the first quarter of this year, according to a UC Riverside report. But wage increases across Southern California were smaller than gains statewide.

Wages in San Bernardino and Riverside counties increased 2.8 percent in the first three months of 2019, the university’s School of Business’ Center for Economic Forecasting and Development reported.

The report pointed to two key factors boosting salaries for Inland workers:

  • The tight labor market continues to benefit many workers, as some employers offer bigger salaries as incentives to fill positions or to dissuade workers from changing jobs.
  • And housing in the Inland Empire is less costly than the coastal areas’, which frees up cash for discretionary spending.

“The healthier growth we’re seeing in the Inland Empire’s workforce is being driven in part by the region’s greater home affordability relative to surrounding areas,” Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of the UCR center, said in a statement. “This represents a significant competitive advantage in the future.”

The Inland labor force increased by 2.3 percent in 2018, which outpaces Los Angeles (0.7 percent), Orange County (1.7 percent) and the state as a whole (1.5 percent).

Statewide wages grew 4.3 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates. The difference between the state and the Inland Empire was not surprising, Kleinhenz said in an interview.

“Growth statewide has generally been outpacing Southern California because the Bay Area has been so high-flying with their pay increases,” he said.

Paychecks have been growing in the Inland Empire for about seven quarters, Kleinhenz said, generally between 1 and 4 percent. The data is compiled by looking at hourly wages.

The expanded paychecks gave consumer spending a boost in 2018, with taxable sales rising 8.7 percent in Riverside County and 6.1 percent in San Bernardino County. Both counties outspent the state as a whole, which saw just a 5.2 percent increase, according to state sales tax data.

Bill Hatfield, president of Hatfield Buick GMC, a Redlands car dealership, said sales were “at a good level” in the first quarter. He added that consumers have a lot more money to spend these days, for cars, homes vacations and other items.

“We do see people buying higher priced vehicles these days, and they’re buying them fully-loaded,” Hatfield said.

Code Ninjas turns kids into techies

Most children are happy when pressing video game buttons, but a new learning center opening soon will teach youngsters some of the complicated processes behind these games.

Code Ninja, designed to teach coding to children between ages 7 and 14, will be helmed locally by two entrepreneurs. The school is set for an April 5 debut at 2550 East Archibald Ave., Suite D-E, in Ontario.

A grand opening is planned for April 20 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. According to a statement, it will offer kids a chance to learn to code in a fun, safe social learning environment, against a backdrop of the martial arts. The curriculum includes lessons in robotics, 3-D printing, Snap Circuits, and other tech skills.

According to its website, Code Ninja has more than 20 Southern California locations operating, include in Rancho Cucamonga and Chino Hils. Fees generally run to $150 per month for a year-round program, about $200for a week of summer camp and about $200 for a birthday party with 10 guests

The Ontario office will be owned and operated by Alexander Calvo and Princess Ortiz, a soon-to-be-married couple.
BevMo moving to larger Chino location

BevMo is close to opening a larger location in Chino.

The retailer is moving April 4 to a new 12,000-square-foot store at the Chino Spectrum Towne Center. The new site was formerly a Party City store.

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