Newly released figures from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) show unemployment in San Bernardino County dropping to 7.8% in March, down from 8.1% in February and a half percentage point better than the state average of 8.3%. The county’s March rate is the lowest it has been in the year since the pandemic severely impacted the global economy.

It also continued a trend that has seen San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire recover at a faster rate than the state as a whole. An analysis of those numbers shows that the county has recovered more than 70% of the 138,500 jobs lost in March, April and May of 2020 – the peak of the COVID downturn.  

“With our strong business climate, robust labor pool and exceptional quality of life, San Bernardino County is a prime location for companies looking to grow. The fact that we’re seeing this kind of rapid jobs recovery coming out of the pandemic reinforces just how important an economic force we have become,” said Curt Hagman, Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors.

Although industry-specific data for the county is not yet available, EDD’s Inland Empire summary shows that the recovery has been concentrated in two critical employment categories: Leisure and hospitality (up 4,900 jobs across the IE in March alone) and trade, transportation and utilities (up 4,100 jobs during the month). Other gains were recorded in professional and business services (up 1,600), government (up 1,500) and construction (up 400).

The recovery also is occurring at a significantly faster pace than it did coming out of the Great Recession. At that time, it took nearly five years to recapture 70% of the jobs that had been lost.

“While no two recoveries are ever the same, what’s happening in San Bernardino County and throughout the Inland Empire this time around is indicative of the strength of our economy and the pipeline of trained and qualified workers we have to support the needs of businesses,” said Phil Cothran, Chairman of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board (WDB).

For the complete Inland Empire jobs report for January, go to:$pds.pdf

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