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HesperiaStar.com
  • Economist sees full recovery in 15 months

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  • Even as the region lags behind the state, the economy in San Bernardino and Riverside counties is on track to fully recover all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession by September 2015, noted economist John Husing said Monday.
    Husing’s projection comes after last week’s June unemployment report showing an increase in local jobless rates despite California dropping to its lowest figure in six years.
    But Husing, chief economist for Inland Empire Economic Partnership, cautioned against relying completely on those numbers because the California rate is seasonally adjusted while the county and city rates are not.
    In fact, the state’s unadjusted jobless rate rose 0.2 percent in June to 7.3 percent when compared to May, he said. The California Employment Development Department on Friday reported a 7.4 percent seasonally-adjusted jobless rate for June — a 0.2 percent decrease from May.
    Adelanto (13.2 percent), Apple Valley (9.2 percent), Barstow (10.6 percent), Hesperia (10.9 percent) and Victorville (10.2 percent) each saw jobless rates rise from May to June.
    But local job creation is the better barometer of the economy’s health, according to Husing, who said the Inland Empire at the end of last year had recovered 81,700 of 143,000 jobs lost during the peak of the recession.
    “My instinct is we’ll get a pick-up,” he said. “We now have a ladder. By the end of the year, we’ll be 80.6 percent up that ladder.”
    Assuming regional job growth in the second half of 2014 mirrors the year’s first six months, the region can completely emerge from the hole by adding 27,823 jobs in 2015, he said.
    “The June report and the report for the first half of the year indicate that we are definitely making progress to repair the economy from damage done in the Great Recession,” he said.
    Husing also warned against paying too close attention to month-to-month shifts in the unemployment rate. He said year-over-year data is better when assessing economic conditions.
    “The month-to-month data doesn’t tell you very much because the methodology in which the data is collected and reported is not that precise,” he said. “The difference between 8.1 and 8.4 percent is pretty much nonexistent.”
    Since June 2013, unemployment rates in all of the High Desert’s major cities — Adelanto, Apple Valley, Barstow, Hesperia and Victorville — have dropped by at least 2.8 percentage points, according to the state’s EDD website.
    “(Jobless rates) were atrocious out there,” Husing said. “They’re much better than they were.”
    The Inland Empire has seen a 2.2 percentage point drop year-over-year, he said. Both Husing and Joseph Brady, president of The Bradco Companies brokerage firm in Victorville, said it shouldn’t come as a shock, however, that the region trails the state’s recovery by about a year.
    Page 2 of 2 - “It doesn’t surprise me that we still have high unemployment,” Brady said. “What we need to be doing is creating real jobs.”
    Brady urged local cities to engage in collective discussions on how to bring in more quality jobs while lauding their efforts to attract the retail sector.
    Shea Johnson may be reached at 760-955-5368 or SJohnson@VVDailyPress.com. Follow him on Twitter at@DP_Shea.

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