Economic development staff at local city halls and a research economist gave presentations on the state of the regional economy at the Murrieta/Wildomar Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Economic Outlook Nov. 19.
The event, held at the Monteleone Meadows event venue in unincorporated Murrieta, drew an audience local leaders and business professionals.
John Husing, a local research economist, told attendees that jobs have continued to increase over the past year in the Inland Empire, which has more population than 25 entire states and is forecast to gain another million-and-a-half residents by midcentury. Despite an inverted yield curve earlier this year – a situation in which short-term rates on U.S. Treasury bonds are higher than long-term rates that has preceded every recession since 1975 – the local economy has continued to expand, according to his presentation. There were almost 50,000 new jobs added in the Inland Empire between 2017 and 2018, he said, compared to 60,000 in Los Angeles County and a little more than 30,000 in San Diego County.
Kimberly Davidson, economic development director for the city of Wildomar, said in her presentation that the precarious financial position the city had been in after it incorporated in 2008 was no longer the case. The city is now fiscally stable, due to motor vehicle license fee replacement funds that were restored by former Gov. Jerry Brown in 2017 after being taken away six years prior, along with sales tax Measure AA, gaining the city a combined $5.1 million.
The city, she said, has added traffic and parking patrols, and has added a new community patrol officer.
Davidson highlighted Wildomar’s “miracle mile” of retail and restaurants along Clinton Keith Road near Interstate 15. Some things the city has in store for the future, she said, include the proposed renaming of Baxter Road and Central Avenue to “Wildomar Trail” and possible widening on Corydon Road.
Murrieta Deputy Director of Development Services Scott Agajanian said while the city does currently have a high retail vacancy rate, one shopping center that currently has high vacancies is currently undergoing renovations and is expected to be refilled by this time next year. Future developments include a proposed Costco, a medical office building near Loma Linda University Medical Center – which, Agajanian ssaid, is undergoing an expansion and adding 50% to its emergency department – and another medical building near Murrieta City Hall.
The city, he said, continues to be one of the safest in the country. It recently ranked third-safest on a list compiled by financial news site 24/7 Wall St.