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Inland Southern California jumps 24 spots in one year on List of Best Performing Metro Areas

Region climbs to No. 20; Los Angeles, Orange Counties plummet to Nos. 61, 47

January 20, 2018

RIVERSIDE, Calif – Inland Southern California shot up 24 spots on the list of “best-performing large cities” in one year due to strong job and wage growth, becoming the 20th best large metropolitan area and outpacing its neighbors to the west in 2017, according to the report by the Milken Institute released this month.

The annual report by the nonprofit Milken Institute Center for Regional Economics looked at job creation, wage gains and technology developments in evaluating the relative growth of metropolitan areas. The Inland region was among the top 10 large metropolitan areas in five-year job growth and one-year wage growth. The region’s overall ranking, which was 44th in 2016, has been climbing since 2014.

Chairman Chuck Washington of the Riverside County Board of Supervisors praised the efforts of both the County of Riverside Economic Development Agency and the private sector for helping the economy grow.

“County EDA and others – both public and private – have been working diligently over several years to elevate the overall economic profile of Riverside County,” Washington said. “Results like these are very gratifying and will provide the impetus to step up our efforts to an even greater degree.”

The Milken Institute’s Best-Performing Cities index is an objective method of identifying economic growth in metropolitan areas. The Institute said “top-performing metros have cohesive strategies that allow them to leverage their assets more effectively.”

Elsewhere in Southern California, Orange County fell 28 spots to No. 47, and Los Angeles County fell 13 spots to No. 61. San Diego County fell 19 spots to No. 51. Imperial County, known as the El Centro metropolitan statistical area, appeared on the list of best-performing small cities at No. 99.

In the case of the Inland region, which covers Riverside and San Bernardino counties and is identified as the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario metropolitan statistical area, multiple factors play a part in the area’s strong growth.

The booming housing market is a strong driver for the economy, the report noted. Military employment in the area also provides stable support for the economy, and the region’s role as a logistics hub is strengthened by the opening of new flights between the Ontario International Airport and Asian cities.

The report also took note of the region’s diverse set of industrial sectors, which includes education and health care along with logistics and hospitality. Logistics for retail and e-commerce giants including Amazon, Target and Walmart together employ nearly 25,000 employees in the region.

The region’s rankings overall were as follows:

  • Job growth (2011-16): 8th

  • Job growth (2015-16): 23rd

  • Wage growth (2010-15): 24th

  • Wage growth (2014-15): 5th

  • Short-term job growth (August 2016-August 2017): 50th

  • High-tech GDP growth (2011-16): 79TH

  • High-tech GDP growth (2015-16): 69th

  • High-tech GDP concentration (2016): 130th

  • Number of high-tech industries (2016): 118th

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that aims “to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health.”

The full report can be found at

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