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Local Jobs Needed To Grow Economy, Reduce Commuter Traffic

Findings indicate that Riverside and San Bernardino counties have a labor surplus, with about 23 percent more workers than available jobs.

Lake Elsinore and Wildomar residents already know this story: For the Inland Empire economy to grow, more -- and better -- jobs are needed in the region, a UC Riverside professor said today.

According to UCR Business Administration Dean David Stewart, a recently released report underscores why the long-term prospects for growth in Riverside and San Bernardino counties depend on attracting businesses that can supply the jobs wanted by people now commuting to neighboring counties for work.

In the first of a series of planned "Regional Intelligence Reports'' to be prepared for the business school, Los Angeles-based Beacon Economics found that 41 percent of Inland Empire residents commute to jobs in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties.

The Beacon study pointed to bigger salaries as one of the chief reasons.

"Retaining our workers, and matching local employment opportunities with local skills, will play a significant role in Inland Southern California's economic recovery -- and ultimately in our long-term growth,'' Stewart said in response to the report.

According to the study, almost half of jobs-commuters earn more than $40,000 a year, with nearly 20 percent of the commuters working in Los Angeles County, 12 percent in Orange County and 5 percent in San Diego County.

Findings indicated that Riverside and San Bernardino counties have a labor surplus, with about 23 percent more workers than available jobs.

"In order to capitalize on its own residents -- especially its highly skilled residents -- it will be important for Inland Southern California to cultivate new business formation and attract existing businesses into the area,'' said Beacon Economics co-founder Christopher Thornberg. --City News Service; Toni McAllister contributed to the report.

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