So what happens to one of the hardest-hit portions of the state as the economy slowly recovers? A report by Beacon Economics projects growth to be slower than in the surrounding counties in 2011, but things should start improving by 2012, with job growth actually overtaking the state rate. From the report:
The question is, what kind of growth will we see? This is a good question for local leaders. Will Riverside/San Bernardino continue down the same path, or will the region look for new opportunities for growth? There is the chance to rebuild the local job base, not with lowpaying jobs but with the kinds of jobs that improve the total quality of life. The region needs to leverage its advantages. It's not an easy task and will take some research, but if successful, the region will have a better understanding of which way the wind is blowing and how to adjust its sails.
Any turnaround will require a pickup in housing, of course, and the Beacon people say that could happen for the same reason that it happened before the crash: affordability. Home prices in Riverside/San Bernardino have fallen faster than in the surrounding areas, in part because of the huge number of foreclosures. Before the market really regains its footing, those properties will have to be cleared, and that could take a while.