Are San Bernardino and Moreno Valley really the worst places to find work?

These two regions may lack many high-paying job opportunities, but what about logistics, medical and government jobs?
By Metrolink station, San Bernardino, CA
San Bernardino Work: Logistics and goods movement is on the rise.
Photo © Wikimedia/rococohobo CC BY-SA 2.0

Transit Talking Points by: Nicholas Ventrone, Community Engagement Director

Even though the valley "Where Dreams Soar" and some neighborhoods in San Bernardnio's county seat are still mired in awful social conditions and violent crime which discourages businesses from investing in these areas and providing high-paying work to college graduates, the job market in these areas is slowly making a comeback especially in logistics and goods fulfilment. Those stuck working in entry-level jobs in the retail sector can use these additional opportunities to move up and acquire new skills. The medical sector is also on the rise for those holding degrees and certificates in medicine. Plus, many good residents, non-profit pro-family and restorative justice organizations, and local law enforcement are taking a serious stand against the ongoing crime waves.

The worst places to find work or not?

Enter in WalletHub's 2015′s Best & Worst Cities to Find a Job report where San Bernardino and Moreno Valley ranked dead last at 149th and 150th place, thus making them the worst places to find a job according to the study. In addition, these two cities ranked the worst in terms of a robust job market.

To compare, some other Southland cities fared better with Santa Clarita ranking 15 of 150, Huntington Beach at 35th (tied with Tempe AZ), Irvine at 42nd, Rancho Cucamonga 48th, Garden Grove 53rd, Oceanside 56th, and Chula Vista 63rd. On the bottom half of the list, San Diego surprisingly placed 79th, Riverside 80th, Anaheim 98th, Glendale 102nd, Long Beach 104th, Santa Ana 113th, LA at 114th, Ontario 115th, and Fontana 119th. No report from any city within Southwest Riverside County, Coachella Valley or Victor Valley regions.

To be fair to WalletHub, there is some truth to the bad rankings in Moreno Valley and San Bernardino. One who holds degrees in engineering, computers, information technology, or even some sectors in business may not find work directly in these cities given the lack of opportunities in these fields in the marketplace. There are many more non-working qualified individuals than there are job openings in these regions for these fields. That's one of the reasons why a high percentage of those with such degrees living in these regions are out of work. Plus, the current distorted applicant-to-jobs ratio keeps local working salaries down. Those facts negated both of these cities' score. Also, the fact that violent crime and social conditions are at an awful state further discourages workers from living locally and thus have to commute longer distances to work. Commute trip times and social conditions were two other factors used to calculate the scores. So WalletHub was completely correct on those supporting arguments.

Here's a more complete context of the two areas' job market:

However, if one has gone to school and studied medicine or has gained experience in goods movements, commercial driving, or shipping, these two regions may actually be prime spots for looking for honest work. Plus, those who take a lower paying job but perform well and bring value to their employer are normally given additional promotional opportunities. Being a county seat city, San Bernardino also houses numerous government jobs.

WalletHub's report was parroted all over the media giving Moreno Valley and San Bernardino a bad look, but perhaps the only reportage I found to date that painted a complete and fair picture was from the Press Enterprise which included a Column by Cassie Macduff. Also, PE Columnist Mark Muckenfuss questioned the report and investigated the job situation and found some city jobs and networked with the Apple One employment agency.

This year, San Bernardino and Moreno Valley probably will be the last place to look for work in many career fields. The Inland Empire as a whole also still has a long way to go before it becomes a job-friendly region and while great progress has been made so far, the good people of these cities still have much work to do to clean up the streets from violent gang crime to make the cities better and attract other sectors to invest here at home. I believe positive change is on the way if such efforts continue.

However, both the logistics and medical sectors are indeed growing. That means a great start to improving Inland jobs. If you're looking for work as a truck driver, looking to move on from entry-level work from the retail sector by joining a shipping crew in a warehouse, looking to be a government worker, or pursue a career as a nurse, medical assistant, or even a doctor, San Bernardino and Moreno Valley are certainly not the worst places in the USA to find such work in 2015.