Category Archives: Economy

Economy General

Inland Empire Small Business Development Center Assist High Desert Business Start-Ups Evaluate the Local Business Environment

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By Louisa L. Miller, Business Consultant

The economic fate of the nation of­ten does not reflect the environment and activity in the High Desert. Small business growth has been slow since the Great Recession across the coun­try ,and the uncertainties caused by changes in national and local govern­ment, for better or for worse, make business and banking more cautious. Uncertainty is the hobgoblin of busi­ness growth. The interest folks in the High Desert have for starting and growing their small businesses is strong.

The Inland Empire Small Business Development Center notes that the top startup business categories in­clude food services/restaurants, retail, consulting and fitness-related busi­nesses. These categories look a lot like they did a decade ago. In some ways that is a concern because of rela­tively low pay, but the upside is that our region consumes a lot of retail of­ferings. There is opportunity for small manufacturing-and logistics-related services that can be supported by local infrastructure and personnel.

Those wishing to take advantage of the older and newer opportunities need to look for problems that exist and bring solutions that solve problems that peo­ple care about to the table. It is also important for them to be passionate about what they do and not just be in it for the money. A key component of working with startup businesses is assisting them in the feasibility pro­cess in evaluating the business envi­ronment, identification of customers, as well as establishing their business legal structure. In short, there needs to be evidence that supports the busi­ness idea.

Existing businesses counseled sought assistance with business expansion, working capital, equipment or real es­tate purchase loans; business manage­ment and marketing. The IESBDC assists them with gathering market and financial data to support their business expansion, loan, etc. In addition, as­sistance is provided with the develop­ment of financial projections based on proposed business growth expected from the expanded operations or fund­ing. It is also important to assist exist­ing business with a feasibility analysis to ensure that the proposed expansion will be profitable and generate posi­tive cash flow.

Client sessions cover a variety of top­ics based on the client’s specific needs and can touch on things such as: how to start; being an entrepreneur; busi­ness planning for expansion and mar­keting/advertising. The top areas of counseling are: Sources of Capital, Startup Assistance, Business Planning and Marketing. Client referrals come from a variety of sources, including banks, government agencies, cham­bers of commerce and client word of mouth. These businesses include light manufacturing, restaurants, au­tomotive service/repair, janitorial, re­tail, Internet-based businesses, home -based businesses, landscaping, coffee shops, gift shops, and residential care facilities.

In 2016, with the establishment of outreach offices at the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce and the City of Hesperia, individuals seeking to use the services of the IES­BDC were given the op­portunity to choose one of two locations to meet with Business Consultant Loui­sa Miller. During 2016 the IESBDC offered 13 semi­nars and workshops in the High Desert covering such areas a pre-business plan­ning, marketing/sales, ac­counting/budgets, business loans, QuickBooks and tax planning. In addition, in late fall a Business Focus/Boot Camp-style series was hosted at the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce offices. The 4-part series included the following topics: Open for Business; Under­standing Your Financials; Marketing Your Small Business; and Marketing Technologies to Attract Customers.

Currently, there are 10 seminars scheduled for 2017. Anyone interested in registering for one of the High Desert seminars or others scheduled throughout the two-county area can go the IESBDC’s website,, and click on the Training section.

The Inland Empire Small Business Development Center is a cooperative program of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship and is supported by the U.S. Small Business Admin­istration (SBA) and California State University Fullerton and extended to the public on a non-discriminatory ba­sis. To learn more about the program or to schedule an appointment, call Louisa at 951-295-4183.

Economy Education General

Launch of First Entrepreneurship Center-Barstow Resource Center

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By Paul A. Courtney Area Center for Entrepreneurs, 1041 West Main St., opened in January 2017 with a mission to help unlock economic and education­al potential, which are powerful tools to drive economic growth and prosperity. Barstow area Entrepreneurs are integral to the stable and thriving local formal economy but often face disproportion­ate barriers, including travel distances, financial, and professional educational support services, states Paul A. Court­ney, Entrepreneur and formal Educator. is centrally located where students, parents, individuals and business people will have access to essential resources (public computer access, administrative/office support services, education referral, financial planning, business planning, signature training, OSHA training, etc. Service Support: scheduling, billing, collec­tions, employee training, HR, and safety training. All designed to facilitate and develop entrepreneurial and educational enhancement capacities. “The center will provide an entrepreneurial/edu­cational ‘hub’ that will create a robust exchange of communication and ideas that will stimulate growth and benefit the community.”–Paul Anthony Courtney,, Ex­ecutive Director.


The Center seeks to augment the educa­tional offerings of the local schools and col­leges by coordinating and offering paid and non-paid internships that require entrepre­neurial training in the areas of customer service, human resources, marketing, sales, employment acquisition, leader­ship, employment re-entry and business planning. The center supports economic diversification and seeks to serve as a catalyst for innovation that will stimu­late Barstow’s business growth and, when fully functioning, will be led, managed and operated by subject matter experts, K-12 grade students and col­lege students. will serve as an example of how private industry can cohesively work with education and community leaders to successfully promote entre­preneurial activity!. J. Adaberto Quijada, Director/SBA, U.S. Small Business Ad­ministration, has agreed to incorporate SBA resources into the center, creating history (in Barstow) and the surround­ing communities that the resource cen­ter will serve. Additional details will be released as they come available.

For further information, please contact Paul A. Courtney / / 760-559-8347

Economy General

Browning Automotive Group Announced State-of-The-Art Toyota Dealership in the High Desert

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By Scott Dickinson, Executive Vice President, Browning Automotive Group

We all love that shiny new toy. Wheth­er it’s a new car in the driveway or the latest phone in our pocket, we gravi­tate towards the latest and greatest. So when the Browning Automotive Group announced a state-of-the-art Toyota dealership coming soon, the entire High Desert community began to buzz with excitement.

Located directly across from Costco on Valley Center Drive, the smell from the baked goods being prepared pales in comparison to the seven acres of land being prepped for the largest dealership in the area. Victorville awaits the newly built dealership stretching over an acre, including a 15,000 sq. foot showroom, a large parts boutique, and a huge four-lane service drive housed with 14 ser­vice writers ready to check in tons of ve­hicles. Over 60 lifts will make sure your vehicle is in tip-top condition ready to take that trek to Las Vegas or make it to Saturday’s soccer game.


With more than 1,000 vehicles on the lot, choosing a new or pre-owned ride will become a more intense experience. Like a kid in the candy store, the choices of transportation will be immense! On the showroom floor alone, 8 vehicles will be showcased and swooned over during the car-buying process. Custom­ers are sure to get their 10,000 steps in while traversing through rows upon rows of cars, trucks, and SUVs ready to drive off the lot.

Twenty-four sales stations and 8 F&I (finance & insurance) offices will expe­dite the car-buying process in the highly energy-efficient dealership. Huge panels of Low E Glass will keep the customers cool and safe from harsh UV rays. The glass reflects infrared energy (or heat) and at night, the bright yet cost-efficient LED lights will brighten up the show­room.

An Exterior Insulation Finishing Sys­tem (EFIS) will contribute to the build­ing becoming highly energy-efficient by cooling and being environmentally responsible. The insulation is applied to the exterior, making the dealership even more cost effective. The insulation will withstand the bright and hot High Des­ert summer heat.

Valley Hi Toyota will be a destination with state-of-the-art building materials as well as the latest in technology. There will also be a large customer lounge area complete with custom decor, charging stations, and other amenities such as fresh coffee, vending machines, children’s play area, and even oc­casional massages provided by a lo­cal business. An array of monitors will provide enter­tainment as well as informative details of service waiting times, service specials, and dealership deals.

Valley Hi Toyota will become the ulti­mate destination to purchasing and ser­vicing vehicles in the High Desert. The Toyota product is surging with innova­tive and creative advances in car design. By constructing a new and extraordinary dealership, buying a new or pre-owned vehicle will surpass any and all expecta­tions for generations to come. Especial­ly, when it comes to buying that shiny new Toy(ota).

Publisher note:

As publisher of the Bradco High Desert Report, we have never had the oppor­tunity of having the High Desert (Vic­tor Valley) New Car Dealer or New Car Dealerships supply us information about their very dynamic industry which gen­erates a tremendous amount of sales tax dollars to the City of Victorville.

Nearly 15 years ago, we started to see the development of the new car auto industry and Victorville’s new car fa­cilities built along Civic Drive (Greiner, GMC, Buick, Dodge, Chrysler, Nissan, Honda, Kia, etc.). Now the Browning Auto Group, the High Desert’s largest owner of new and used car dealerships, is making a very serious commitment to the City of Victorville and the High Desert region by the creation of their new and greatly improved dealership.

Many people don’t realize (many of us old timers do) that the area where these car dealerships are located was a part of Roy and Dale Rogers’ amusement facil­ity adjacent to Interstate 15.

Mr. Kent Browning, Owner and Presi­dent, Mr. Scott Dickinson, Executive Vice President, and their four general managers, Mr. Todd Stokes of Toyota, Mr. Joe Vickers of Honda, Mr. Shawn Nazari of KIA, and Mr. Todd McNitt of Nissan, collectively sold approximately 9,452 cars in 2016, which created tre­mendous financial benefit to the City of Victorville. Congratulations to Brown­ing Auto.

Mr. Browning and his staff have been strong supporters of Victor Valley Com­munity College and many of the en­deavors undertaken by the Victor Val­ley Community College Foundation.

Thank you for everything that you do.

Economy General

Demographic Clarity for Businesses

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Big Shift Lead

By Chris Porter and John Burns

Demographic shifts create exciting op­portunities for the business leaders who act on them. Those who do not react can quickly fall behind. With change occurring more rapidly to­day than ever before, we recognize the need for more clarity on the demographic trends shaping the US today.

There are plenty of anecdotes floating around about how consumer behavior var­ies by generation. These are often informed by one’s personal experience with their own parents, peers, or children. Business leaders need real facts to help them make informed decisions and adjust their strategies when unanticipated events shift prevailing trends.

Our search for clarity resulted in a book called Big Shifts Ahead: Demographic Clarity for Businesses. We wanted to make demographics easier to understand and anticipate by giving readers the tools and framework to recognize the shifts that will affect nearly every business.


At a high level, here are some of the shifts coming that businesses need to be aware of:

  • 38% more people over the age of 65. Most of growth in the population 65 or older, which will reach 66 million peo­ple by 2025, will be young baby boom­ers born in the 1950s. They are 7% more likely to work than their predecessors, which means 25% will be working full-time. Demand for higher-density, lower-maintenance living among this generation has already surged. We coined the term “surban” to describe urban living in sub­urban environments. These active retir­ees will keep their cars but don’t want to spend much time in them. They want to live near their kids, too. More than ever, we expect they will be providing down payments to the kids to keep them living nearby.
  • 8 million more working women. Wom­en now earn 58% of all college degrees. They also earn more than their spouse or partner 38% of the time—a stat that has been rising 0.4% per year for at least the last 30 years. Men and women, particu­larly those born in the 1970s, are willing to trade a large house for a home closer to work so they can be near their kids. While the percentage of 20–64-year-old women choosing to work has fallen 3% since 2001, the percentage of men has fallen 5%. The real estate needs of these 78 mil­lion women will vary. The one common thread will be how busy they are.
  • 8 million increasingly affluent immi­grants. Clearly, elected officials can af­fect this trend dramatically. For example, three immigration laws in the 1980s gave rise to more immigration over the subse­quent 20 years than the prior 60 years. Today’s immigrant tends to arrive on an airplane from China, Brazil, and other countries where the economies have been booming. While most expect some slow­ing in those economies, the pent-up de­mand to move to the US remains large.
  • 8 million newly formed households. 13.3 million of these households will re­place a relative who passes away or moves to an assisted living facility. The net gain will be 12.5 million households, which is an 86% increase over the paltry growth from 2005 to 2010. The record number of deaths recently is one big reason that net household formation has been slow. Nonetheless, these 25.8 million want to live differently than prior generations and will fill their homes with all sorts of tech­nology. While more people than usual have been living urban, three times as many live suburban.
  • 62% of the growth heading south, where 42% of America currently lives. Plenty of jobs, affordable housing and warm weather will make Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Florida, Georgia, North Caro­lina, and surrounding states the growth engine.
  • Renting taking market share. 80% of the people passing away own their home, making it very difficult to prevent home-ownership from falling. With mortgage interest and property taxes on most homes already less than the standard deduction, the tax benefits of homeownership have been greatly reduced. The foreclosure scars of the last recession have not faded either. People want to own their own home but are going to proceed more cautiously. They will wait until they are confident in their job and savings before taking on a mortgage. We estimate that homeowner­ship will fall to 60.8% in 2025.

Below are just some of the highlights from the book, which includes 100 color charts and two tools for making demographic anal­ysis much easier:

  • Define each generation by decade born. We decided to make every generation 10 years long. The math becomes easy: those born in 1980 turn 37 this year. Gen­erations divided by decade have far more in common than previous generational definitions, which can be up to 20 years long. Our method makes it easier for you to understand people’s backgrounds and attitudes, something we summarize in the book. We give each generation a name based on the shift they led in society:
    • 1930s Savers
    • 1940 Achievers
    • 1950s Innovators
    • 1960s Equalers
    • 1970s Balancers
    • 1980s Sharers
    • 1990s Connectors
    • 2000s Globals
    • Apply the 4-5-6 Rule. We group all the external factors that influence demo­graphic characteristics into four main categories (which we call the Big 4 Influ­encers):
    • Government policies
    • Economic cycles
    • New technologies
    • Societal shifts

We describe how different policies, cycles, technologies, and societal shifts have af­fected groups, depending on where they were in the 5 Life Stages that we outline. This framework will help you adjust your strategy when one of the Big 4 Influencers changes unexpectedly. You will also be bet­ter able to answer the 6 who, what, when, where, why, and how questions you are ask­ing about your business.

We live in an exciting time when American businesses can capitalize on rapidly chang­ing demographics. These changes will im­pact the types of homes, offices, retail, and storage spaces America needs and where America needs them. Group the generations by decade born and use the 4-5-6 framework to quickly make better-informed decisions.

Economy General Politics

San Bernardino County Economic Development Agency Improving the Job Prospects of Residents

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By Mary Jane Olhasso, Assistant Executive Officer, County of San Bernardino

One of the most rewarding aspects of the San Bernardino County Economic De­velopment Agency’s work is improving the job prospects of residents. Work­ing with the business community on relocation and expansion opportunities and implementing proactive workforce development programs are just some of the ways the agency makes an impact. Moreover, the department’s efforts are augmented by valuable partners in edu­cation, investment and real estate who work in collaboration to ensure job cre­ation opportunities.

A great example now being led by edu­cation partners is the implementation of a nearly $15 millon grant awarded to Chaffey College and the Inland Empire Regional Training Consortium (IERTC) in 2014. The competitive grant was awarded by the Trade Adjustment As­sistance Community College and Ca­reer Training (TAACCCT), which is co-administered by the Department of Labor and Department of Education, to improve manufacturing training for the Inland Empire. The IERTC includes 10 community colleges, 2-four-year universities, and the Manufacturers’ Council of the Inland Empire as well as several faith-based and community or­ganizations.

In March Chaffey and the consortium celebrated the opening of the Industri­al Technical Learning Center (InTech Center) located on the campus of Cali­fornia Steel Industries (CSI) that will train thousands of workers in advanced manufacturing, advanced transporta­tion, logistics, energy and utilities, as well as computer/ICT/digital media. These programs are conducted at no or low cost to employers and employees, thanks to the TAACCCT grant.

Through TAACCT funding, Barstow Community College now offers a low-cost, two-year plan in Industrial Main­tenance Mechanic Technology. This program offers National Center for Construction Education and Research(NCCER) stackable certificates. Bar­stow offers this program at a lower cost compared to similar programs offered at private colleges.

These programs and others are true job creation successes. California Steel ac­cepted five Barstow Community College students into their paid internship program over the last several years and a few have stayed on to become full-time California Steel employees. A number of other companies have partnered with Barstow Community College, either by recruitment, placement, advisory, or donations, including: NRG Energy, Abengoa Solar, Rio Tinto, Trinity Con­struction, National Training Center-Fort Irwin, Marine Corps Logistics Base, and Burlington Northern Santa Fe.

Another example of how community colleges are increasing job prospects is the work being done by Victor Valley College. The Welding Department at Victor Valley College has been an ac­tive department in the community for more than 35 years as a Los Angeles Certified Testing Facility for the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, an American Welding Society Certified S.E.N.S.E educational facil­ity, and a Fabricator and Manufacturers Association International Educational partner. Today, the Victor Valley Weld­ing department has evolved into a robust program that has placed students throughout the years with government agencies such as NASA, the Naval Nuclear Submarine Assembly dock in Virginia, and the Marine Corp Logistics Base in Yermo. It has served as a pre-employment testing facility for Northwest Pipe and Cas­ing, partnered with local industry to create intern­ships and pathways, and is continually working to provide students with job placement opportunities.

Thanks to additional funds, Victor Val­ley’s successful Welding department will expand its training in metal forming and fabrication with the planned addi­tion of space and resources. Construc­tion will begin on their new facility, which is slated to be completed by the end of this year.

The efforts of Barstow Community Col­lege, Victor Valley College and InTech Center are all part of a collaborative solutions-oriented effort to provide an economic boost to the county by provid­ing new skills to workers who are then able to quickly fill jobs in manufactur­ing, distribution and related technology sectors.

The Economic Development Agency has also been focused on a manufac­turing initiative that builds awareness of the county’s advantages for manu­facturing businesses: it identifies opportunities for manufacturers outside the county to consider expansion or relocation to the county; identifies obstacles to expansion of existing county busi­nesses; and informs busi­nesses about workforce incentives and programs.

The team has already reached out to nearly 1,000 unique manufac­turing companies, result­ing in more than 258 direct contacts that allowed staff to share information on the benefits of San Bernardino County. More than 90 of those contacts were sent follow-up let­ters and general cost com­parisons for manufactur­ing in San Bernardino vs. Los Angeles or Orange County. This effort will continue throughout this year.

The department also hosted educational workshops in collaboration with other partners, provided resources to educate and prepare local manufacturing busi­nesses that are interested in exporting or expanding their export base, and en­gaged in business-to-business match­making meetings, both locally and in other countries. Additionally, the county is participating in the Advanced Manu­facturing Partnership’s (AMP SoCal) efforts with USC Center for Economic Development as the lead agency to pro­mote and support the aerospace and de­fense industry in Southern California.

These multiple outreach efforts and the progress to date will continue to posi­tion this region as a premier choice, especially in Southern California, for new investment and job creation.

Economy General Politics

Taxable Parcels Increase in Value Due to Existing Home Sales

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By Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County Assessor

In June 2015 the assessment roll contained 820,314 taxable parcels and was valued at $186,894,462,703, which represented a 5.077% net in­crease as compared to the 2014 as­sessment roll. Our office reported that the primary reasons for the in­crease in value were sales of existing homes, Proposition 8 recovery of as­sessed values, and the Proposition 13 Consumer Price Index adjustment. New construction also contributed to the increase but to a lesser degree.

The 2015 assessment roll finally reached and surpassed the previous high achieved in 2008 before the collapse of the real estate market. Three of the cities with the highest increases were all located in the High Desert, including Hesperia at 7.8 %, Victorville at 6.7 %, and Adelanto at 6.5%.

When looking at historic trends for the High Desert, we see that the as­sessment roll for all cities is increas­ing since the drop in values experi­enced in 2009. The upward trend is a positive sign and many of the same drivers for the County as a whole are responsible for the upward trend in the High Desert. In general, peo­ple are taking advantage of the af­fordability of homes in the market. Moreover, little of this upward trend is due to new construction. Approximately 12 % of the increase was due to construction, unlike the 2006-2007 valuations when 60 % of the value increase was due to new con­struction.

This bodes well for the High Des­ert. While I am optimistic about the region, the greatest need is for new business start-ups. Based on person­al experience over the course of my career, I think the greatest judge of a healthy economy is small business growth.

The High Desert has all the right components for healthy growth, such as low cost land, affordable homes, basic infrastructure, and a pro-busi­ness approach from the County and High Desert cities. I think the re­newable energy opportunities that are unique to the region are another benefit to business growth.

Looking back over the course of my career in both the private and public sectors, I was fortunate to have par­ticipated in encouraging: the redevel­opment of Ontario Motor Speedway, which ultimately became Ontario Mills; the development of Victoria Gardens; expansion of Ontario Inter­national Airport; and the billions of dollars invested in goods movement and transportation infrastructure for the Inland Empire, as well as help­ing to bring Amazon to our region. All of these projects are significant long-term catalysts for ongoing eco­nomic growth and development opportunity.

Now I look at the current trends and believe that the future is bright, espe­cially because our County, including the Assessor’s department, is com­mitted to delivering a friendly and fair business environment. This is all part of my work to help San Ber­nardino County be recognized as the best place to live, work and raise a family.

Values and Parcel counts By Roll Year and High Desert City

Values and Parcel Counts By Roll Year and High Desert City

Economy General Property

2016 Economic and Housing Market Outlook

Published by:

By Oscar Wei, Senior Economist


Economic Outlook

The U.S. economy ended last year with a lackluster performance of 1.4% annual­ized growth rate in the fourth quarter of 2015. While the annual increase in GDP in 2015 maintained the pace as that of 2014, it was a letdown for many econo­mists who predicted a stronger outlook for the nation last year. The subpar per­formance of the year was due to multiple factors including: 1) the sharp decline in oil and commodity prices; 2) the eco­nomic slowdowns in China, Europe, and Canada; and, 3) a strong dollar that makes American goods relatively expensive and weakens demand overseas. Despite the hiccups in recent quarters, the labor mar­ket continued to improve, with nonfarm employment averaging a gain of more than 233,000 new jobs per month in the last 12 months. The unemployment rate in March 2016 also reached a near-full employment level of 5% that we have not seen since 2007.

Meanwhile, the economy of California continued to grow at a faster pace than that of the nation as technology and tourism pushed the state economic growth ahead of much of the country. The strong per­formance in the labor market is an illustra­tion of how well the Golden State has been doing in recent years. The unemployment rate in California dropped to 5.5% in Feb­ruary, the lowest level observed since Au­gust 2007. Statewide job growth has been rising at or near 3% year-over-year since late 2012. While the unemployment rate in California remained above that of the U.S., the growth in the job market at the state level has been outpacing the nation since March 2012. Overall, the outlook for the economy remains positive with continued improvement in consumer, business, and state and local government spending in 2016.

California Housing Market Outlook

With the economic fundamentals remain­ing strong in California, the state housing market has had a solid performance since the beginning of this year. Through the first two months of 2016, sales of exist­ing single-family detached homes have surpassed the sales level at the same point of 2015 by 7.6%. When compared to the previous year, sales in February in­creased in most price segments except for those properties priced under $200K, between $300K and $400K, and homes over $2,000,000. Homes priced between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000 experienced the strongest growth—rising by 10.8% over February 2015.

Much of the growth in Southern Califor­nia in particular was driven by the Inland Empire as sales in Riverside and San Ber­nardino were 7.5% and 5.1% above last year. Orange County saw a 1.5% increase in sales last month. However, Los Ange­les, San Diego and Ventura all experi­enced negative growth in February. In the Bay Area, only Solano and Sonoma saw an increase in home sales, suggesting that tight inventories are beginning to nega­tively impact activity.

As for the statewide median home price, growth rate cooled to a 3.8% annual pace in February 2015 as the statewide median price increased to $446,460. This marks the slowest rate of growth for home price in six months and likely reflects the shift of sales activity toward the Central Valley which has lower home prices on average. As tight inventory in the Bay Area and Southern California drive a larger share of activity in more affordable areas, price growth should continue to normalize in the remainder of 2016.

The statewide housing supply remains an issue as the demand for housing contin­ues to outpace the growth in inventory. While it is a welcome sign to see steady improvement in housing demand, the lack of supply is definitely a concern. The im­balance between the two sides not only intensifies market competition and pushes home prices higher, but it also leads to housing affordability issues that will ulti­mately lower homeownership rates if the problem persists.

The supply constraint in the Bay Area is more pronounced and has led to fewer homes being sold in the high-cost region. On the other hand, demand in regions with more affordable housing continues to improve and more home sales will like­ly take place in the coming year. As such, a slow-down in home price appreciation at the state level is anticipated as the mix of sales changes in favor of lower-priced properties in 2016.

High Desert Regional Housing Market Outlook

Home sales activity continued to improve in the High Desert region at the beginning of 2016. The number of single-family detached homes sold in February 2016 increased 4.5% when compared to the same time last year. In fact, sales have been improving on a year-over-year basis for every month since March 2015. The year 2015 was also the first year since 2009 that the market experienced a year-over-year gain in sales. With the econo­my expected to improve in the upcoming year, sales in the regional housing market should continue to grow with a mid-single digit in 2016.

The median home price of the High Des­ert region remained on an upward trend in the most recent month. When com­pared to last year, the regional median price increased 8.5% to $203,600 in Feb­ruary. Over the last twelve months, the year-over-year gain in median price has an average of 9.6%, slightly higher than the statewide average of 6.0% for the same time frame. Home prices in the High Desert region have been improv­ing since 2012, with its annual median price increasing 24.5% in 2013, 16.6% in 2014, and 9.2% in 2015. Despite the upward trend in price in recent years, the regional median price in February 2016 remained 39.6% below the cyclical peak reached in June 2006 but was up 90.9% from the recent cyclical bottom reached in April 2009. For the rest of 2016, increase in housing demand in the region should put upward momentum on home prices as the economy continues to improve. The regional median price could increase year over year by a mid-to high-single digit in 2016.

Economic and Housing Market Forecast

Fig 1: Sales of single-family homes (High Desert)

Fig 1: Sales of single-family homes (High Desert)

Looking ahead, the state economy should continue to grow through 2016, as the high-tech sector remains in the driver seat. New product development may disrupt in­dustries across the globe, but it could also yield sizable revenue and have significant spillover effect in their respective local economies. The construction industry is an example that shows how the rapid ex­pansion of technology firms throughout Silicon Valley has helped to drive the con­struction payrolls to increase by double-digits over the past year. Improvement in the construction industry is expected in the upcoming year and will help to push the economy forward. The statewide non-farm job growth will increase by 2.3% in 2016, and the unemployment rate in Cali­fornia will fall from 6.2% in 2015 to 5.5% in 2016.

Meanwhile, the California housing market is expected to have a decent performance in 2016. The Federal Reserve will most likely raise the federal funds rate two to three times in 2016. Modestly higher in­terest rates, however, should not present much of a direct challenge to the hous­ing market. With the economy expected to grow, housing demand should continue its upward trend, with sales of existing single-family homes projected to increase 6.3% in 2016 to 432,570.

Fig 2: Median price of single-family homes (High Desert)

Fig 2: Median price of single-family homes (High Desert)

Inadequate supply in high-end areas such as the Bay Area will continue to exert up­ward pressure on prices, but home sales in those regions will simultaneously be constraint. The constraint in home sales in the Bay Area leads to a decline in the share of high-end homes sales to overall home sales, which could also lead to a slow-down in the appreciation in the state­wide median price. As such, the statewide median price is expected to increase at a moderate pace of 3.2% in 2016 as more homes in the affordably-priced Central Valley and Inland Empire are being sold.

Risks that Could Tip the Scales

Fig 1: California Housing Forecast

Fig 1: California Housing Forecast

Although the outlook for both the econo­my and the housing market remains posi­tive for 2016, there are uncertainties and wildcards in 2016 that could change the outcome and tip the scales the other way. Global economic issues, for example, could begin taking a toll on economic growth domestically in 2016. Slow eco­nomic growth in China and other Europe­an countries, coupled with stronger growth in the U.S., have paved the way for higher interest rates and led to a stronger dollar. As such, international trade will likely be a drag on growth with global economic slow-down and the stronger dollar cut demand for exports, while continued improvement in consumer spending will pull in more imports.

Robust increase in jobs in high-cost ar­eas could be another downside risk to the housing market. Due to the spillover ef­fect of growth in high-paying jobs, plenty of lower-paying jobs have been created, with many of these jobs being in the same geographic areas where the high paying jobs are being added. As such, income disparity in these areas could further com­plicate and deteriorate the housing afford­ability issue.

Policymakers continue to list the mortgage interest deduction (MID) as a potential tar­get in any movement toward tax reform. If MID were to be eliminated, home buy­ers would not have the tax savings benefit of homeownership, thus reducing their incentive to purchase a house, lowering the demand for housing, and thus reduc­ing affordable homeownership across the country and the State of California. The economic impact would stress the state’s already battered balance sheet and, if any of the proposed changes were to come to fruition, could amount to billions of dollars of economic output lost.

While the recent volatility of the stock market has been drawing attention in the news, it is more of a distraction rather than a disruption to the continual improvement in the housing market. The drop in values of equity in January reduces the overall wealth and may have a small negative ef­fect on the economy in general. Its impact to the housing market, however, should be minor, as solid employment conditions, anticipated increase in household forma­tions, and record-low interest rates contin­ue to provide support to the fundamentals of the housing market.


Economy General

Economic Report: Job Growth on the Horizon

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Economic Report: Job Growth on the Horizon

By Sandy Harmsen, Executive Director,

County of San Bernardino Workforce Development Board

The San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB) commissioned the Virginia-based consultant Chmura Economics and Analytics to conduct in-depth analyses of the Inland Empire’s economic vitality on an annual basis. The purpose of the analysis was to assist the Board in determining future actions that will support growing industry sectors to strengthen the workforce talent pipeline. In addition it provides an accurate guide to where the WDB should invest funds to ensure the availability of skilled workers in the projected growth sectors.

The study denotes there are positive indicators on the horizon. The employment rate is expected to rise 3.5% this year, a statistic that outperforms the state of California and the nation.

Industries are thriving and creating jobs. The Chmura analysis shows that since 2012, 88% of employment in the Inland Empire has been driven by six projected growth sectors: Healthcare and social assistance; transportation and warehousing; manufacturing; construction; utili­ties; professional, scientific, and techni­cal services.

Construction, healthcare, and utilities are the growth sectors forecasted to grow more rapidly in the near future. As a result of this new data, the WDB can efficiently allocate federal dollars appropriately to bolster the acceleration of growth for these businesses.

The analysis explains that manufacturing is the most important sector of economic activity. Average wages in manufacturing are 20% higher than the average of all other industries; therefore, this industry holds enormous employment potential for the growing population of young workers who would replace numerous retiring workers.

This information suggests a key area of opportunity for the Workforce Development Board to assist both the job seeker and employer. Young job seekers receive services such as occupational skills train­ing, counseling, internships, job place­ments, mentoring, tutoring, leadership development, and support services. Pro­grams are designed to help youth achieve academic and employment success.

Adult job seekers can access a number of services at the High Desert America’s Job Center of California (AJCC) locat­ed in Victorville, which include resume writing, interview training, job training and placement, career counseling and skills assessment. For more informa­tion, please call the High Desert AJCC at 760.552.6550.

For business owners there is a team of Business Service Representatives avail­able to provide assistance with On-the-Job Training, customized recruitment services, and easy access to a large pool of pre-screened applicants.

A free Human Resources Hotline is available to San Bernardino County businesses 24 hours a day. Advisors at the hotline deal with a variety of inquiries ,including questions on wages and hourly rates, leave laws, hiring and termination procedures, handbooks and policies, attendance, and attitude and discipline problems. Businesses can access the free Human Resources Hotline by calling 1.800.399.5331 or visiting To read more about the hotline, visit­fers-help-to-local-businesses/.

In addition to providing excellent services to businesses and job seekers, the WDB strives to ensure that employment and training services are coordinated so that job seekers acquire industry recognized skills and credentials. Riverside County has partnered with the WDB to form the Inland Empire Consortium for the statewide SlingShot initiative, a project to accelerate income mobility for the local workforce through employer-informed training and education.

The consortium works to link, align and leverage the assets and resources of economic development, education and workforce development partners. It implements a regional economic and work­force development strategy designed to ensure greater prosperity and opportunity.

For more information on the San Bernar­dino County Workforce Development Board, please visit or call 800.451.JOBS.

About the Workforce Development Board of San Bernardino County:

The Workforce Development Board of San Bernardino County (WDB) is comprised of private business representatives and public partners appointed by the County of San Bernardino Board of Su­pervisors. The WDB strives to strengthen the skills of the County’s workforce through partnerships with business-education- and community-based organizations. The County of San Bernardino Board of Supervisors is committed to providing county resources which generate jobs and investment in line with the Countywide Vision.

The Workforce Development Board, through the County of San Bernardino’s Economic Development Agency and Workforce Development Department, operates the County of San Bernar­dino’s three America’s Job Centers of California (AJCC). The AJCCs provide individuals with job training, placement and the tools to strengthen their skills to achieve a higher quality of life. The AJCCs also support and provide services to the County’s businesses, including employee recruitment and business retention programs.

Employers and job seekers who are interested in the Workforce Development Board programs may call: 800.451.JOBS or visit Also follow us on: Facebook; Twitter @InlandEmpireJob; and YouTube

Economy Film General

How does the Inland Empire Film commission Make it so easy?

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How does the Inland Empire Film commission Make it so easy 1

By Sheri Davis – Director

The High Desert still remains the number one desert location for the Film Industry in California. Why you ask? It is really a simple answer – terrific light, diversity of locations (from a mountain community to the vast sand dunes at Dumont) as well as experienced crew and service providers. Also, the film industry gets ease of permitting with the Inland Empire Film Commission which serves as the One Stop Permit Agency for the County of San Bernardino, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. How does the Film Commission make it so easy? They have some very important partners whose support is key to successful filming in the High Desert. The Barstow Bureau of Land Management leadership and staff deserve a medal for their excellence in assisting filming. This office is exemplary and should be the role model for other BLM field offices. County Supervisor Lovingood from the First District and Supervisor Rutherford from the Third District are very supportive partners to the film commission and are great proponents of filming in their districts.

Filming Update For 2014

Feature Films: 11 feature films selected locations from El Mirage Dry Lake to the Dumont Dunes. The pattern of studio features shooting out of state for most of their production continued through 2014 as they secure incentives, both in other states and other nations. Some of the smaller films shot were “Nothing Like Romance” shot in Oro Grande, “The Executer,” shot in Yermo, and “Zeroville,” shot at the Barstow Drive-in. We are very hopeful that the new incentive bill AB1839 that passed allowing $330 million a year for five (5) years to be used as an incentive to keep filming in California. This renewal and revision of the State Film Incentive program bumps the 20% incentive to 25% for films shooting outside the 30-mile zone around Hollywood (more details below). Hopefully, this will encourage production to come to the High Desert.

Reality Television: Reality TV still enjoys filming in the High Desert region with 14 shows such as “Top Gear,” Jay Leno’s untitled new show, “Masterchef,” “Sand Master,” “Die Trying: Gates of Hell,” “Storage Wars,” and “IQ Challenge,” to name just a few of the shows.

Commercials: 56 commercials selected locations in the High Desert. The dry lakes in the county still attract the largest numbers of commercials with El Mirage Dry Lake leading with 17 commercials. Here are a few commercials that did NOT involve the automobile industry: GE, Icon Health, Water Future, 7 Jeans, Megane-ichiba sunglasses. Other dry lakes like Soggy, Silurian, Lucerne, Rabbit and Coyote also attracted their fair share of commercials like Blacklist Olympics, Golden Girls, Pokémon Master Recruiter, USA Network Series Promo for “Dig,” American Eagle and California Lottery. Then, of course, we had many of the car agencies return for that special desert look…Subaru, Lamborghini, BMW, Mercedes Benz, Hyundai, and Dodge Viper, among many other products. The locations ranged from communities like Yermo to Baker, from Barstow to Wrightwood, from Lucerne Valley to Trona. Watch for these commercials and enjoy your locations being introduced to the world.

Still Photography: Still photographers still consider the High Desert lighting and diversity to be perfect for their requirements. 62 still photography shoots for both national and international products like Gala Paris, Macy’s, Prestige Magazine, Nissan Frontier, Lexus, Top Gear Clothing, American Eagle, Show Me Your Mumu, ESPN Magazine, Engelbert Strauss Workwear, Arch Motorcycles, W Magazine, Urban Outfitters and Grip (a German TV car magazine) are some the highlights.

Music Videos: The region enjoyed a huge increase in music videos over the previous year. There were 35 music videos shot throughout the High Desert. Have you ever wondered about all of the music videos that you have seen and thought look like your area. Well, here are just a few for your viewing pleasure – just go to the URLs below and enjoy a music video shot in your region.

Student Production: 19 film school projects discovered the High Desert region. Some of the larger film schools that used our region were Chapman University, University of California Irvine, New York Film Academy, Art Center College of Design, Loyola Marymount University and Columbia College.

Documentaries, Short films, Web Series: 51 other productions selected varied locations in the High Desert such as a market in Trona, the Barstow Hospital, as well as various locations in Newberry Springs and Daggett. However, 38 of the productions were shot on land managed by the Barstow Bureau of Land Management which includes El Mirage Dry Lake, Johnson Valley and the Dumont Dunes.

King of the Hammers: Each year a film crew comes out to record the actions at one of the biggest desert racing events in the Nation called “King of the Hammers.” This is a 5-day event that always selects Johnson Valley, is filled with races, vehicle rock climbing, etc., and has an audience of over 25,000 people attending. We want to thank the Barstow Bureau of Land Management for their support of this important race to Lucerne Valley and the desert region.

Johnson Valley Update

Tony Perry, a reporter with the Los Angeles Times, in an article on May 9, 2014, reported on the final decision for the use of Johnson Valley by the U.S. Marines and the OHV community.

“After nearly a decade-long dispute between the Marine Corps and off-road vehicle enthusiasts over a rocky patch of desert west of the base at Twentynine Palms has ended in a compromise brokered by Congress. Neither side got everything they wanted in the tussle over the nearly 200,000 acres of forbidding Johnson Valley — a place of rugged beauty that off-roaders say is virtually without peer for their sport. The Marines say the same about their training needs.

As included in the 2014 defense bill signed by President Obama, approximately 43,000 acres of Johnson Valley will be for recreational use only, 79,000 acres will be for the Marine Corps, and 53,000 acres will be shared between the off-roaders and the Marines.”

Johnson Valley

The Inland Empire Film Commission is not certain at this time how these decisions will impact filming.

California Tax Incentive Update

California Film and Television Tax Incentive Expanded and Extended 20-25% Credit

The California Film & Television Job Retention and Promotion Act, signed by Governor Brown in September, 2014, expands and improves California’s Film and TV incentives. The California Film Commission is currently developing regulations and other procedures to administer the newly expanded film and TV tax credit program.

Key Changes from Prior Program

  • Increases tax credit program funding to $330 million per fiscal year; extended for 5 years
  • Expands eligibility to big-budget feature films, 1-hr TV series (for any distribution outlet) and TV pilots
  • Eliminates budget caps for studio and independent films
  • Replaces current lottery with a ranking system based on jobs and other criteria
  • Provides for multiple allocation periods throughout the year

Additional 5% Credit Uplift (Maximum credit = 25%)

  • Filming outside the Los Angeles zone + 5%
  • Music scoring/music tracking recording expenditures + 5%
  • Visual effects expenditures + 5%

Eligible Productions

  • Feature Films: $1 million minimum budget; while there is no maximum budget cap, credit allocation applies only to the first $100 million in qualified expenditures
  • Movies-of-the-Week and Miniseries: $500,000 minimum budget
  • New Television Series for any distribution outlet: $1 million minimum budget per episode (at least 40 minutes per episode, scripted only)
  • TV Pilots: $1 million minimum budget
  • Television Series, without regard to episode length, that filmed their prior season outside California; $1 million minimum budget
  • Independent Films: $1 million minimum budget; while there is no budget cap, credits apply only to the first $10 million of qualified expenditures (only independent projects may sell their tax credits)

New Selection Criteria

Productions will be ranked from highest to lowest based upon a jobs ratio and other criteria against “like” projects (TV ranked against TV, indie projects against indie, etc.). The CA Film Commission will award tax credits to those productions in each category with the highest ranking. The new program provides four separate funding “pots” for these categories : TV series and TV pilots / independent projects / non-indie feature films / and relocating TV series.

Key Dates

Final Lottery – Original tax credit program eligibility – APRIL 2015

  • Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015

New Program: First application period – May 2015 (TV only) / Summer 2015 (feature films)

  • Projects selected by new ranking system
  • Productions may not begin principal photography before July 1, 2015

Courtesy of the California Film Commission

High Desert Film Alliance

The High Desert Film Alliance, which is active and meets monthly in the region, has new Co-Chairs – Joshua and Tiffany Addante. With this new leadership, they are looking into expanding their internet exposure in hopes of being available to assist more productions as they come into the region. The alliance has also changed their monthly meetings to the 2nd Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Marriot Courtyard in Hesperia. If you are interested in attending to find out more about the alliance, or if you are a film professional living in the High Desert and would like to network with other professionals, please feel free to come. Please RSVP to info@filminlandempire. com so we can save you a seat. Menu will be available for those of you who would enjoy dining during the meeting.

The Inland Empire Film Commission wants to take this opportunity to thank Phyllis Overall for her years as Chairman of the High Desert Film Alliance. Her dedication and energy for film production in the High Desert is unequaled and she will be missed.

Economy General Property

Most High Desert Home Values Trending Up

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Fig 1 Most High Desert Home Values Trending Up

By Bob Dutton
Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk
San Bernardino County

As the newly elected Assessor for San Bernardino County, I am very interested in monitoring and taking action to stimu­late economic development in the region. One of the key indicators of the regional growth is the value of the various prop­erty types within the County.

Over the last several years, dating back to 2008, there have been some very dra­matic changes in assessed property val­ue. Before we discuss property value, it is important to distinguish the difference between market and assessed property value.

Market value: The lowest price a sell­er would be willing to receive while at the same time the highest price a buyer would be willing to accept on an open and competitive market.

Assessed value: Value utilized by the As­sessor as the basis for taxation of prop­erty. In California this is constrained by Proposition 13 enacted in 1978.

In the 2007-2008 timeframe, properties within San Bernardino County reached a peak point. However, with the down turn in the economy and the resulting reces­sion, many properties had a dramatic re­duction in value. Properties located in the High Desert area followed this same pat­tern. This region includes the incorporat­ed cities of Adelanto, Apple Valley, Bar­stow, Hesperia, and Victorville, as well as the unincorporated areas of Lucerne Valley, Pinon Hills/Phelan, Wrightwood, Helendale, Hinkley, Yermo/Daggett and Newberry Springs.

When looking at the difference in all High Desert secured property from the peak in 2008 until the low in 2012, there was an overall decrease of 35% in assessed value. The majority of the reduction was felt within residential property with a de­crease of 48.5%. This accounts for 93% (by number of properties) of all property. Commercial, industrial and agricultural property remained relatively the same during this time frame with only slight fluctuation in the assessed value.

Fig 1 Most High Desert Home Values Trending Up

To understand the current trend, we can look at what has occurred in assessed val­ue over the last three years, 2012 through 2014. As shown in Figure 1 (Residential Average Assessed Value), all of the in­corporated cities except Barstow have experienced positive growth in assessed value for residential properties:

  • Adelanto: 14.41%
  • Apple Valley: 11.50%
  • Barstow: (4.93%)
  • Hesperia: 11.80%
  • Victorville: 12.67%

Of the unincorporated areas, some of the residential properties have realized slight growth and others have declined in as­sessed value:

  • Lucerne Valley: 1.41%
  • Pinon Hills/Phelan: 6.89%
  • Wrightwood: 6.82%
  • Helendale: 4.81%
  • Hinkley: (47.75%)
  • Yermo/Daggett: (5.29%)
  • Newberry Springs: (5.18%)

Fig 2 Most High Desert Home Values Trending Up

For commercial properties (e.g., stores) in the incorporated cities, there is mini­mal growth, with the majority realizing a decline in average assessed value as shown in Figure 2 (Commercial Average Assessed Value):

  • Adelanto: (6.99%)
  • Apple Val­ley: (2.32%)
  • Barstow: (2.73%)
  • Hesperia: 5.27%
  • Victorville: 3.21%

Similarly, the unincorporat­ed areas have predominately seen a decrease in the commercial as­sessed average value:

  • Lucerne Valley: 6.46%
  • Pinon Hills/Phelan: (0.22%)
  • Wrightwood: (1.17%)
  • Helendale: (18.63%)
  • Hinkley: (33.41%)
  • Yermo/Daggett: (0.43%)
  • Newberry Springs: 1.71%

Fig 3 Most High Desert Home Values Trending Up

The last area of interest is the industrial properties (e.g., warehouses, manufac­turing, etc.). As shown in Figure 3 (In­dustrial Average Assessed Value, the values for the incorporated cities have stayed primarily the same or had a slight decrease:

  • Adelanto: 6.76%
  • Apple Valley: (0.06%)
  • Barstow: 3.64%
  • Hesperia: 4.62%
  • Victorville: (3.45%)

These trends are also seen in the unincor­porated areas as well:

  • Lucerne Valley: (1.51%)
  • Pinon Hills/Phelan: (4.01%)
  • Wrightwood: 2.47%
  • Helendale: (13.22%)
  • Hinkley: (4.90%)
  • Yermo/Daggett: (8.02%)
  • Newberry Springs: (5.35%)

In summary the outlook for residential property has been positive and shows strong growth, but we are still lagging in commercial and industrial properties. I have a strong interest in working toward economic growth in the High Desert region, as well as throughout all of San Bernardino County. If we can stimulate development in the commercial and in­dustrial properties, it will in turn create additional jobs and provide for even stronger future growth for the residential property values.

Economy General Politics

Momentum is Ours

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By Larry Vaupel
Economic Development Agency Administrator
San Bernardino County

Momentum. Defined by force or speed of movement. Our County is experienc­ing momentum again. It is a speed of positive movement that will benefit us all. However, the challenge is to ensure this positive economic momentum is broad based, hitting all key aspects of our region from healthcare to education to business.

We have population momentum. Ac­cording to economist Joel Kotkin, Cen­sus Bureau data indicates that, from 2007 to 2011, nearly 35,000 more resi­dents moved from Los Angeles County to the Inland Empire than moved in the other direction. There was also a net movement of more than 9,000 from Or­ange County and more than 4,000 net migration from San Diego County.

Healthcare is expanding. Loma Linda University Medical Center recently an­nounced plans for a new construction project that will provide a new building to house the International Heart Insti­tute and establish two state-of-the-art centers for imaging, gastrointestinal, and pulmonary services, allowing for expansion of services and ease of access to accommodate the rapidly growing population of the Inland Empire.

Business is growing. The unemploy­ment rate in San Bernardino County dropped from 7.7 percent in November to 7.0 percent in December of last year, according to data released Jan. 23 by the California Employment Develop­ment Department (EDD). The county’s jobless rate had been one of the highest in the nation during the recession, but it has decreased steadily in recent years. Moreover, to further encourage greater job growth, five companies within the County of San Bernardino were award­ed California Competes Tax Credits totaling nearly $5.5 million for the cre­ation of 1,148 new jobs. The award is from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and approved by the California Com­petes Tax Credit (CCTC) committee. The California Competes Tax Credit is an income tax credit available to busi­nesses that want to come to California or stay and grow in California. These five local businesses were among the 56 companies statewide chosen by the Governor’s office.

Education is meeting demand. Chaffey College was recently awarded nearly $15 million to create an advanced man­ufacturing training center at California Steel Industries in Fontana. According to officials, the grant will provide a ma­jor economic boost since an expected 3,000 students will be able to benefit from the program over a four-year pe­riod, starting mid- 2015.

County government is innovating. We recognize that our role is to facilitate in­vestment and fuel the momentum. It is no small task that our County was rec­ognized in 2014 with multiple awards for its innovative programs from the National Association of Counties and the California State Association of Counties.

On Wednesday, April 15, I encourage you to join me at the State of the County where more than 1,000 business, gov­ernment and community leaders will be on site at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario. We will share more of what is driving an era of momentum for our region, as well as provide a forum for discussion and collaboration. We in­vite you to help build the momentum. Tickets are available at www.sbcounty­