San Bernardino County’s economy received a ringing endorsement Tuesday from one of the Inland Empire’s better-known economists.
Like the U.S. economy, the county’s economy is enjoying a solid run of growth that shows no sign of slowing down, said Chris Thornberg, director of the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting.
Speaking at the center’s second annual San Bernardino County Forecast Conference, Thornberg pointed to the ongoing renaissance at Ontario International Airport – more passenger and cargo traffic since it shifted to local ownership in November 2016 – as one major positive for the local economy’.
Two others are the area’s affordable housing – although it’s still hurt by not enough houses being built, like the rest of California – and that the county has had solid job growth during the past three and a half years.
“We should be delighted about how successful San Bernardino County has been recently, but we should also have a discussion about how to manage the gains the county has made,” Thornberg told the gathering of about 200 at the Ontario Convention Center. “But all the numbers indicate that San Bernardino County’s economy is going to be healthy for a long time.”
Building more houses probably should be the county’s highest priority, especially since its population is expected to grow by 1.2 million during the next 20 years, Thornberg said
“Our mantra should be ‘roofs, roofs, roofs,’ not ‘jobs, jobs, jobs,’ “ he said.
Thornberg also dismissed the oft-repeated notion that businesses are fleeing California in droves to escape the state’s excessive regulations.
“It’s simply not true,” Thornberg said. “California is the eighth-fasting growing economy in the state, and people aren’t leaving . Every time I get caught in a traffic jam I wish more people would leave California.”