By Elizabeth Zach, RCAC staff writer

Construction jobs and the healthcare, leisure and hospitality industries continue to attract people to the Inland Empire in southern California, and the region is outpacing the state’s coastal communities and their economies, according to the Inland Empire Business Activity Index.

The Inland Empire is a metropolitan area and region, however it also includes the Coachella Valley, as well as San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Its economic temperature affects that of surrounding rural areas.

The index surveys employment, economic output, income, real estate, and other indicators to make its conclusions, according to the UC Riverside School of Business Center for Economic Forecasting, which compiles it.

In the latest index, forecasters zero in on a shortage of available housing in the area, which affects future growth and available workers for growing businesses, said Robert Kleinhenz, executive director of research at the center. “We have connected the dots from this labor shortage to the increased cost of housing. Front-and-center, there is a housing shortage,” he said.

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