Employment Stats Show County Moving To Regain Its Pre-Pandemic Economic Footing

San Bernardino County has made a substantial recovery from the state of near economic collapse that accompanied the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial drawdown.
According to the California Employment Development Department, San Bernardino County has recovered 70 percent of the jobs lost as a consequence of the closures ordered by Governor Gavin Newsom in March 2020 and follow-on actions the state took to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
The unemployment rate in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan statistical area was 7.7 percent in March 2021, a .04 percent drop from 8.1 percent in February 2021. The unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in Riverside County, and 7.8 percent in San Bernardino County.
This contrasts with an unadjusted unemployment rate of 8.2 percent for California and 6.2 percent for the nation during the same period. The gains that had manifested by March came close to offsetting a year-over-year loss of 30,700 jobs in the accommodation and food service portion of the workforce, which are employment sectors that were devastated during the prolonged period of pandemic. In the Inland Empire subareas in which the region’s most heavily populated cities are situated, some 4,500 jobs in the restaurant industry were reclaimed between February and March.
Percentage-wise, San Bernardino County and western Riverside County are experiencing a much stronger recovery than Orange County, Los Angeles County, Ventura County and the State of California overall. From February 2021 to March 2021, total non-agricultural employment in the two-county area increased from 1,497,200 to 1,509,700, a gain of 12,500 jobs. Agricultural jobs increased by 800.
While there has been substantial misgiving over the regional trend toward accommodating warehousing and distribution centers, the most recently available California Employment Development Department data indicates that the Inland Empire’s depth of supply, warehousing, trucking and and logistics operations has insulated the area from some of the most problematic aspects of the economic downturn that sprung from the pandemic. In this way, because the Inland Empire was heavily involved in the delivery of merchandise that was no longer being sold out of retail venues locally all over the state, the continuing employment of many of the county/regional residents in providing merchandise to individuals or households ordering such commodities online appears to have shored up the local economy. The trade, transportation and utility elements of the logistics sector added 4,100 jobs from February to March. More remarkably, those work assignments added 29,400 jobs over the past year.
Other bright spots were a 4,100 net job increase in the areas of trade, transportation and utilities, as well as 4,400 more jobs in transportation and warehousing. There were 1,600 more position in the professional and business service areas. California Department of Employment Development statistics show a modest 800 job gain in the retail trade area and 400 more employees in construction jobs.
A remarkable statistic was that from March 2020 to February 2021, total non-farm employment decreased by 64,900, with 1,100 of those jobs lost coming from wholesale trade. Leisure and hospitality employment was hard hit, with 40,600 positions lost in one year, along with the loss of 30,700 jobs in accommodation and food services. From February 2021 until March, 2021, there were 1,100 positions lost in the educational and health service fields. Another 600 positions in agriculture were lost . There was a 1,500 job gain in government in the one month period between February and March, but that was only bright spot in an overall trend of hardship in the arena of governmental employment in the period between March 2020 and March 221, when overall government employment dropped by 24,200, with 22,600 of those losses being in local government, 1,000 in state government and 600 in the federal government. Additionally, there were annual employment losses of 9,500 in manufacturing and 2,700 in financial services.

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