Survey finds 88% of adults in Inland Empire are concerned about lack of well-paying jobs

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Photo credit: PPIC

INLAND EMPIRE – Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) an independent, nonpartisan research group, released regional results, Dec. 1, from its latest survey Californians and Their Economic Well-Being. The statewide survey found that 88% of respondents living in the Inland Empire are the most likely to be concerned about the availability of well-paying jobs.

According to PPIC, California’s economy recently passed an important threshold – recovering the 2.7 million jobs lost during the pandemic. However, these regained jobs may not offer what California’s workers are seeking. Californians overall, are concerned with the availability of well-paying jobs as the job market has shifted over the past few years.

Statewide, about eight in ten Californians (79%) say the availability of well-paying jobs in their part of California is a problem, including about a quarter (24%) saying it is a big problem. 

Adults living in the Inland Empire (88%) are the most likely to be concerned about well-paying jobs, and San Francisco Bay Area residents (72%) are the least likely to be concerned; Central Valley (81%), Los Angeles (77%), and Orange/San Diego (75%) residents fall in between.

“These perceptions reflect the reality of how jobs have changed during the pandemic. Since job losses were concentrated in low-wage sectors, the jobs recovery also skews in that direction,” states the report. 

For example, the Inland Empire saw the largest job growth during the pandemic, however, this region also has the lowest share of employment in high-wage industries – information, financial activities, and professional and business services. The region has the highest share in low-wage sectors – trade and transportation, leisure and hospitality, and other services. 

Photo credit: PPIC

Compared to pre-pandemic, Inland Empire jobs in low-wage sectors grew 14%, while jobs in high-wage sectors grew 7% and those in middle-wage sectors grew 2%. This skewed growth means that the current job mix in the Inland Empire has shifted toward lower-wage sectors – from 39% in October 2019 to 42% today.

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These concerns are elevated amid high inflation and California’s high cost of living. 

About a quarter of Californians say concerns about well-paying jobs make them consider moving – 5% would move elsewhere in California, 23% would move outside the state.

“These choices will shape the state’s future: who resides here and the extent to which new jobs can help Californians advance economically are critical to the vitality of the state and its standing as one of the biggest economies in the world,” states the report.

Read the full results for Californians and Their Economic Well-Being survey here.

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