By Neil Nisperos, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
Posted: 10/23/14, 9:17 PM PDT |

RIVERSIDE >> Optimism about the regional and national economy was abundant at the 2014 Riverside/San Bernardino Economic Forecast Conference hosted Thursday by Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics and the UC Riverside School of Business Administration.

The event brought hundreds of people from government and business to network and discuss recovery of the Inland Empire economy at the Riverside Convention Center. With the impact of the Great Recession beginning to fade, economists and business leaders are now looking forward to growth.

“The nice thing about the Inland Empire is not only have we seen broad-based growth, virtually every sector here locally has turned the corner and started to add jobs,” said Jordan Levine, director of economic research for Beacon Economics. “That’s true of high-skilled sectors like health care and professional services but it’s also true of lower-skilled jobs like leisure and hospitality, and lower skilled trade, as well as intermediate skill levels, such as manufacturing and construction, which have seen a bit of an uptick.”

The Inland Empire unemployment is at 8.7 percent. Nationally, the rate is at 5.9 percent.

“One of the most exciting numbers is what’s called the job-opening numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics,” said Christopher Thornberg, founding partner of Beacon Economics, “and that shows that the job-opening rate is back to pre-recession levels over the last few months and that shows the strongest pace of job growth is going to accelerate in the next five to six months.

“So you add it up, everything is ticking along, and that’s true in the state of California, as well as the nation.”

Levine said the Inland Empire represents one of the fastest economic growth regions for the state.

Among the reasons, he said, affordability of land and home prices, as well as the availability of developable land, compared to coastal regions in Southern California.

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