Business activity in the Inland Empire dropped 26.5 percent in the second quarter, as COVID-19 and the severe public restrictions that accompanied it delivered a gut punch to the region’s economy.
“The second quarter’s dismal numbers are largely the result of rigid health-mandated closures and restrictions, which began in the first quarter and had to be reimplemented following a local resurgence in new COVID-19 cases,” the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development stated in a report released Thursday.
The resurgence of the virus in April, May, and June led to a collapse in spending and employment in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Unemployment claims peaked early in the quarter, and the county continues to be among the top five locations in the state for initial claims.
“Certain industries are being affected by the pandemic far more severely than others, which is why containing the spread of COVID-19 is so critical to the overall economy,” said Adam Fowler, the center’s director of research, in a statement. “Industries that rely heavily on face-to-face interactions, particularly the leisure and hospitality sector, will continue to be especially constrained as long as control of the virus remains elusive.”