IE labor force growing at 4 times the state average, new study shows

A new report by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) affirms the Inland Empire’s emergence as one of the fastest-growing labor markets anywhere.

The study, released during SCAG’s 13th Annual Economic Summit on December 1, documented San Bernardino and Riverside Counties’ growth as a global supply chain hub, adding 63,700 jobs in transportation, warehousing and wholesale trade since shortly before the pandemic. Other major employment gains have been reported in leisure and hospitality, which has fully recovered from its early pandemic losses and is up 17,600 jobs year over year, and the government sector, up 9,400 jobs year over year.

According to the report, the IE’s labor force has grown by nearly 50% since 2001 – more than three times the growth rate for Southern California as a whole and four times that of the rest of California.

All of this follows what has been an exceptionally strong post-pandemic recovery in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties – the only two counties within the SCAG region that have exceeded pre-COVID employment levels.

Longer term, according to the report, the IE would benefit from greater diversification of its employment base, as automation and artificial intelligence impact the transportation and logistics sector, in particular. As the chart below shows, the top five employment sectors, out of 20 altogether, account for nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the Inland Empire.

For SCAG’s complete economic report for Southern California, please click here

Percent of Total Employment by Sector in the Inland Empire, 2022

Monthly Jobs Report

San Bernardino County has added more than 47,000 jobs during the past year, to go along with a continued steady increase in the labor pool, according to the October jobs report from the California Employment Development Department (EDD). Unemployment remained below 4% for the second straight month, fueled by job growth in most sectors. The total labor force climbed to a record 1.023 million.

For the latest EDD Labor Market Intelligence report for the Inland Empire, please click here.

Message from the Chair

Honored to serve, support WDB

Phil Cothran

WDB Chair

The end of this year also marks the end of my tenure as Chair of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board. Next month, a new Chairman, 1st Vice Chair and Treasurer will be installed, and I look forward to supporting their great work.

WDB has been a big part of my life and will continue to be. I joined the Board in 1995, and have been blessed to work alongside the outstanding business and community leaders who volunteer their time to advance workforce, career and business opportunities across our county. I am also incredibly proud of our Workforce Development staff and the work they've done to help establish San Bernardino County as one of the nation’s most robust employment and economic centers in the United States.

Never has our strength as a region been more apparent than during these past three years. San Bernardino and Riverside Counties were the first in Southern California to reclaim the full number of jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, thanks in no small part to the partnerships and support services offered by our Workforce Development professionals.

It was an honor to serve as Chair during that time, and I am grateful for the opportunity to continue supporting our county’s Workforce Development efforts in these critical months and years ahead.

Happy Holidays!

Rapid Response Support Event

Several hundred displaced UFI workers participated in a WDB-sponsored job fair and support event at the High Desert Training Center on December 8.

WDB steps in to help more than 200 displaced workers

When Sal Monica, WDB Business Service Representative, received an early morning call from Mario Gonzalez, United Furniture Industries (UFI) Director of Operations, he did not hesitate. Gonzalez, along with the 300 UFI employees he supervised, had just received a layoff notification from their employer and knew that he could reach out to WDB for Rapid Response assistance. Local employers such as Ashley Furniture, Big Lots, Walmart and Plastipak Packaging began to recruit displaced UFI employees almost immediately, and soon, nearly 200 former UFI workers had registered for a support event and job fair, which took place on Thursday, December 8, through a partnership with Victor Valley College’s High Desert Training Center. Resources offered at the event included individualized job search and resume assistance, and information on veterans services, skills certifications and on-the-job training, and financial assistance for training.

Aside from helping my mom, who was a gardener, or pet and house sitting for our neighbors, my first real job was working for a small caterer. I worked prepping food after school on weeknights and serving on weekends. The food prep was tedious and has helped me notice small details ever since. (I had to peel cherry tomatoes and asparagus and sort them by size because presentation of the food was important. For example, we could not serve thin asparagus to one person and thick to the person seated next to him or her.) I found working private parties to be much more enjoyable than the prep work, especially when we earned tips and got to taste some of our creations, but there's no doubt that my learning to be meticulous about my work has contributed to my success as a business owner. Details matter. And, few things are more satisfying than a job well done.

New videos explore careers in logistics

WDB has released a series of short videos on job opportunities in the logistics sector. Click the icon to the right for the first of these video shorts, or visit our website for all three.

Stat of the Month

High Desert Resource Fair

Hundreds of county residents attended the 2nd Annual High Desert Resource Fair, held November 15 at Abundant Living Family Church in Hesperia. WDB was proud to partner with 1st District County Supervisor Paul Cook on this very special community event. Other partners included the San Bernardino County Public Defender's Office, Victor Valley College, San Bernardino County Department of Veterans Affairs and the San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk.

Connecting Employers and Job Seekers

Local employers will participate in several hiring events at the County’s America’s Job Centers of California (AJCCs) in the coming weeks:

Thursday, January 5, 2023: East Valley AJCC, 500 Inland Center Driver, Space 508, San Bernardino. 9 a.m.-noon. Register here.

Thursday, January 19: West Valley AJCC, 9650 9th St., Suite A, Rancho Cucamonga. 9 a.m.-noon. Register here.

Thursday, January 26: High Desert AJCC, 17310 Bear Valley Rd., Suite 109, Victorville. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.. Register here.

Coming up

WDB hosts free virtual seminars throughout the week to help job seekers on topics such as interviewing skills, resume building and navigating the employment resources available during the pandemic. If you know of anyone who could use this valuable assistance, a calendar of upcoming sessions is available here.

In the meantime, here are some upcoming events and release dates:

Friday, December 16: California EDD releases its November jobs report.

Friday, January 6: Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its December U.S. jobs report.

Visit our YouTube channel to view archived videos of our Business Services webinars, such as this one on inclusivity in the workplace.

Stay up to date
Click here to catch up on past editions of Workforce Update, WDB’s monthly e-newsletter and labor market intelligence report.

If you know others who would like to receive this timely and important information, please invite them to join our mailing list at

WIOA Title I-financially assisted programs or activities are an equal opportunity employer/program. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.  For federal funding disclosure information, visit:

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