Although the Inland Empire economy has improved greatly in recent years, adding hundreds of thousands of jobs, only about 4 in 10 jobs pay enough for working families to make ends meet, according to a new report.
The rise of employment in the logistics sector has been a contributing factor in the growth of low- and moderate-wage employment in the region, according to "State of the Work in the Inland Empire," which was released by faculty members, researchers, and students at the Center for Social Integration at UC Riverside.
Because of its vast amount of available land, Fontana in particular has become a prime destination for large warehouse and distribution centers.
Using MIT’s living wage standard based on household composition and cost of basic expenses, the report said that in an Inland Empire family of four with two working adults, each parent must earn about $18 an hour, or $36,000 each year, to make ends meet. But only 38 percent of jobs in San Bernardino and Riverside counties meet this standard.
There are also significant racial disparities in meeting this threshold, the report said. Hispanic and black workers in the IE are the least likely to earn this living wage standard (at 28 percent and 39 percent, respectively), compared to 46 percent of Asian Americas and 49 percent of whites.
Female workers are significantly less likely than men to earn this living wage standard (32 percent to 43 percent), and these disparities are most pronounced for women of color, with just 21 percent of Hispanic women and 37 percent of black women earning at least $36,000 in the past year, the report said.
Good jobs not only pay sufficiency wages but also offer full-time work of at least 35 hours a week, year-round employment, and employer-provided benefits such as health care coverage, the report said.
Based on an analysis of the American Community Survey, the proportion of workers enjoying both full-time employment and full-year employment is lower in the Inland Empire (65 percent) than in Los Angeles County (69 percent), Orange County (68 percent), and statewide (68 percent).
The report said that this gap is due both to lower rates of full-time employment -- 74 percent of all workers in the Inland Empire work full time, compared to 77 percent in Los Angeles County and 77 percent in Orange County-- as well as lower rates of full-year work (80 percent in Inland Empire, 83 percent in Los Angeles County and 82 percent in Orange County).
Notably, transportation and warehousing workers in the region are less likely to have full-time and full-year work (67 percent) when compared to the same industry’s workers in Los Angeles County and Orange County (76 percent in each), the report said.