By Paul C. Granillo, President and CEO of Inland Empire Economic Partnership
In March-April 2018, the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP) hosted two major events focused on the growing strength of the Inland Empire economy. One was Dr. John Husing’s 2018 State of the Region, where 430 local leaders heard him emphatically state that the inland economy is in the midst of the “strongest period of economic performance in the 53 years he has studied the area.” He underscored this by pointing out that the region had 12.2% more local jobs (160,00) in 2017 than it did at the 2007 pre-recession peak. California was only up 8.8% and the U.S. by 6.7%. Amazingly, he pointed out that the 49,433 new local jobs in 2017 were barely exceeded by Los Angeles County’s huge economy (50,617) and were more than every other CA metropolitan area.
In April, IEEP and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce cooperated on the 2018 Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Conference sponsored by UPS. This event focused on the growth and rapid changes occurring in the supply chain that delivers goods to our homes and businesses. It explored the changes occurring in the supply changes in light of new technologies, as well as the explosion in on-line shopping and continued expansion of international trade.
Among others, the speakers included the World Wide Public Relations Director for Amazon.com, who pointed out the huge local labor force now working for the firm; Colliers International’s chief location strategist discussed how the size and shape of buildings is changing to accommodate the advanced technologies being deployed within them; the Executive Director of the South Coast Air Quality Management District led a panel on strategies for deploying new technologies to increase goods movement efficiency and lower air quality difficulties.
A thread throughout the conference was that the current trends and future technologies in the movement of goods all point to great potential for the economy of Southern California and the Inland Empire. The only hesitancy was the harm that regulators and legislators might do to the supply chain. As Dr. Husing had stated earlier, “The logistics sector added 23.3% of all new jobs and indirectly supported another 10% as workers spent their payrolls locally. Had the sector’s growth been stopped, the inland area would still be mired in the recession.”
That danger was underscored by Noel Massie, U.S. Operations Manager for UPS. He was quoted in the Inland Valley Bulletin saying, “Legislators are sometimes quick to make decisions that adversely impact the movement of goods … they can become very arrogant about their intentions when it comes to regulations. And it will show up in some way that impacts the economy in a negative way later on after the damage is done. That’s why you need the bodies you have, like the chamber and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership and Orange County Business Council. The best you can hope to do is educate them.”
That is one mission that IEEP continues to work to try to fulfill through events like the State of the Region and the Southern California E-Commerce and Logistics Summit.