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Inland economy outpaces state, nation in COVID-19 recovery

The Inland Empire labor market has replaced 185,600 jobs since April 2020, the month when the local employment market reached its lowest ebb following the onset of COVID-19, according to a study released this week.

Though still below its pre-pandemic peak by 37,600 jobs, that is a recovery rate of 83 percent, above California and the nation, the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting and Development reported.

The largest job losses occurred in the leisure and hospitality sector, which is down 26,500 jobs from February 2020. Government, manufacturing, administrative support and financial also posted significant losses.

Consumer spending in Riverside and San Bernardino counties has also rebounded nicely from the pandemic: taxable sales increased 41.7 percent between the second quarter of 2020 and the second quarter of 2021, and e-commerce spending is up 77.5 percent during the last three years.

The latest edition of the Inland Empire Regional Intelligence Report expressed concern about the Omicron variant, but predicted that it’s not likely to cause much economic damage statewide because of California’s high vaccination rate.


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