Last week, Beacon Economics released its first Intelligence Report detailing the current economic climate of Riverside and providing insight into the outlook for the area.
Sponsored by the City of Riverside and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce, Beacon was hired to help the community better understand the dynamics of the local economy so that businesses and the agencies working to help businesses can develop better short and long term strategies.
Bright spots in the report include job growth in key industry sectors such as Professional and Business services, one of the city’s largest industries, increasing 8% from September 2011 to September 2012. During that same period, construction also saw strong year-over-year gains, indicating a rebound in the region’s hardest hit segment.
Taxable sales have also made a comeback to near sustainable pre-Recession rates. Since hitting bottom in the second quarter of 2009, taxable sales in the City of Riverside has consecutively increased each quarter through the second quarter of 2012 on a seasonally adjusted basis, up 7% in from September 2011 to September 2012 alone.
Good news was reported in the housing market as well. While prices have remained relatively flat since 2009, sharp declines in the number of foreclosures and defaults indicate the city should see an uptick in sales and prices in 2013, according to Beacon. In addition, the housing market of Riverside remains at a very advantageous position relative to other areas of Southern California. As the report points out, Southern California residents can gain a significant savings on housing costs in the Riverside area without sacrificing overall quality of life or access to major employment centers.
Looking ahead, Beacon points to education, healthcare and technology as areas of economic opportunity for Riverside. While the data that traditionally measures education shows there is still room for improvement, the presence of Riverside’s four colleges, forward-thinking policies and efforts of both K-12 school districts, and projects such as the new UC Riverside Medical School and Completion Counts program are expected to increase both the college-going rate as well as the number of professional degrees in the area.
Healthcare has been a mainstay for the region throughout the worst of the recent recession, adding 5,750 jobs and 1,100 new firms in the county since its peak, predominately in the Ambulatory Health Care segment. The increase – and projected continued increase – is positive trend for the region as health care jobs typically pay higher wages than many other industries.
The Professional, Scientific, and Technical sector is another area of growing importance for Riverside County. Today, this industry represents nearly 3% of total employment in the area, which is up from just 2.1% in 2000. Within that sector, Management and Technical Consulting firms are the single-largest segment, with nearly 1,000 firms currently in operation in Riverside County. This is also the single fastest-growing segment, having grown from just 240 such firms back in 2000.
According to Beacon, “Over the past 11 years, and despite all the turbulence punctuated by the rise and subsequent collapse of two major asset bubbles, the City of Riverside’s economy has grown. The cyclical effects of the Great Recession are beginning to wan, and most aspects of the local and regional economy have turned the corner. Looking forward, growing our high-wage employment base will be critical in improving our resiliency and overall quality of life in Riverside and the broader Inland Southern California region.”
To read or download the full report, click here.
Beacon Economics, LLC is an independent economic research and consulting firm that provides objective, top-tier research and analytics to help its clients make optimal decisions about investment, growth, revenue, policy, and other critical economic and financial issues. The firm’s core areas of expertise include economic and revenue forecasting, regional economic analysis, market and industry analysis, economic impact studies, economic policy analysis, and international trade analysis.