A report released this week by Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. says Inland Southern California will continue to lead the state in jobs and housing growth, confirming what many area residents have felt the past few years as the region’s population nears 4 million:
Setting the pace, once again, in Southern California will be the Riverside-San Bernardino area with nonfarm employment up by 2.1% or 25,200 jobs in 2006. … (The) area has led the state in new homebuilding for several years. While the 2006 permit count should decline by 4.3%, the unit count of 48,820 should again top all other metro areas.
Though still lagging somewhat on a per capita basis, the study also indicates the two-county region has narrowed the gap between its coastal counterparts as total personal income has grown from $75 billion in 2000 to $104 billion in 2005 — a growth rate of nearly 40%. Moreover, the study expects another $15 billion of personal income will be added by the end of 2007 — an overall increase of nearly 60% since 2000. Likewise, the area’s tremendous population growth has helped push taxable sales from $25 billion in 2000 to $42.7 billion in 2005 (a 71% increase) — with the numbers expected to climb even further:
The area’s retail market should continue to be red hot during 2006, with sales up by 14.4% to $48.8 billion. Growth is being driven by population and the housing market (what new house doesn’t need something else new?).
An interesting tidbit found in the report is how aspects of Inland Southern California, though one of the nation’s 15 most-populous regions, often fail to register on many radar screens:
Most people (in and outside of California) don’t understand that the nonfarm workforce in the Riverside-San Bernardino area is large, in fact larger than that of the Cleveland, Orlando or Pittsburgh areas.
Although specifically relating to the employment sector, the statement could very well pertain to the region in general as many people — even within Greater Los Angeles — simply fail to realize how large the area has grown. Quite frankly, the region remains relatively unknown and often misinterpreted. Thus, when comparing numbers, it’s easy to see why some refer to Inland Southern California as “a sleeping giant.”