The Inland Empire--Riverside and San Bernardino counties--ranked first among the 16 fastest growing business expansion areas in the West, according to a study by the Newport Economics Group, Newport Beach.
As measured by employment increases and decreases during the past 12 months, the Inland Empire had a growth rate of 6.8%. It was followed by Orange County with 5%, Oakland with 4.6% and San Diego with 4.4%.
Services--including all business and professional categories--accounted for the great share of business growth in the Inland Empire, followed by construction and manufacturing. Orange County's leaders were services and retail trade.
The second tier of growth areas includes Phoenix and Albuquerque, N.M., each averaging a 3% employment expansion rate during the past year, according to Robert Dunham, president of the Newport Economics Group.
Los Angeles was in the 2% growth range, while Denver and Austin, Tex., are showing slight employment declines. The biggest losers were in Texas, with Dallas showing a more than 2% employment decline and Houston recording the biggest decline, down 5.3%.