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IE hiring to improve with big RV contract

January 21, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Riverside County's unemployment rate was at 14.2 percent in December 2010. The job picture in the county is showing signs of improvement. The signs are everywhere despite the fact that the Inland Empire shed more than 8,000 jobs in 2010. In Riverside, one warehouse is preparing to produce more than 30 RVs on a daily basis for the next four years because of a deal recently inked by MVP RV, which means more jobs in the Inland Empire.

In the Inland Empire, nailing down a job is still tough. The combined unemployment rate for the area covering Riverside and San Bernardino counties is hovering at almost 14 percent.

"The unemployment rate at 13.9, horrible unemployment rate, but it's the best in 18 months. So we're starting to see some momentum in a positive direction," said Inland Empire economist John Husing.

Husing attributes the small silver lining in part to the creation of 3,200 more jobs and to the unemployed who looked and found work, many in the manufacturing sector.

More jobs are on the horizon.

Riverside-based MVP RV has inked a deal to manufacture 30,000 of its recreational vehicles for export to China.

The $310-million venture is expected to add 1,200 to 1,300 people to its payroll in the next three to four months.

"We're going to be looking for certainly production-line workers, blue-collar workers. We're also going to be looking for more electricians, some more leadership roles, some group leaders, and some management positions as well, really across the entire company," said Scott Degnan, vice president of sales and marketing at MVP RV.

The once-struggling RV builder recently purchased a 500,000 square-foot building to begin ramping up production.

"They're winning by getting this high-level product and we obviously get a lot of dollars and put a lot of people back to work," said Degnan.

But economists say in order for the Inland Empire economy to truly recover, the housing market must also recover, and they say that will take some time.