Redlands’ unemployment rate dropped to 3.9% between October and November, according to California Employment Development Department (EDD).
It the first time it has been below 4% since March 2020 when it was at 3.4%. After the pandemic shut down the economy, the rate shot up to 11.4% in April 2020.
The U.S. rate fell to 4.5% in November, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
California’s rate dipped from 7.3% in October to 6.9% in November, adding 45,700 non-farm payroll jobs to the economy, the EDD reports.
Thanks to November’s job growth, the state has now regained 1,889,000, or nearly 70% of the 2,714,800 jobs that were lost in March and April 2020 due to the pandemic.
UCR’s Beacon Economics and the Center for Forecasting said the increase in COVID cases related to the Omicron variant could slow the state’s recovery.
“Steady employment growth continues but we’re not adding the volume of jobs that would put a serious dent in what was lost to the pandemic,” said Research Manager Taner Osman. “At this rate, it’s unlikely we’ll see a full job recovery in California in 2022, especially since each new outbreak of the virus is slowing the state’s jobs growth.”
A separate UCR report said the Inland Empire’s labor market, consumers and housing market were exhibiting robust strength as the world closes in on two years of pandemic living. But uneasiness about the resurgence in COVID cases across the globe, and the emergence of new variants, is on the rise.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has instituted a statewide indoor mask mandate through mid-January, citing the 47% increase in the state’s COVID cases since Thanksgiving.
“Although the virus’s revival is truly unwelcome and taxing news, the sunnier side is that we don’t expect the spread of the disease to have the same economic impact it had at the onset of the crisis,” Osman said. “Given California’s high rates of vaccination and a better understanding of how to manage the virus today, business closures and thus job disruptions are unlikely.”
San Bernardino County’s rate fell from 6.3% to 5.5%.
An analysis by the Southern California Association of Governments projects a strong 2022 for San Bernardino County and the Inland Empire, led by continued growth in the logistics sector. A surge in e-commerce and goods movement since the start of the pandemic has put the IE in a stronger competitive position than ever due to the strength of its supply chain network.
The sector added 21,100 jobs in the IE during 2020 and is on track for another 26,800 in 2021, adding nearly 40% of the 69,000 total jobs in the two-county region this year.
Meanwhile, the hospitality sector is beginning a steady recovery after pandemic-related closures created “significant short-term pressures” during 2020 and into the first few months of 2021.
The forecast offers a promising, but cautious post-COVID forecast for Southern California, noting that the strength, resilience and diversity of the regional economy helped avoid what could have been a far more serious recession.