Statistics by John Husing Ph.D
Murrieta has a relatively small economy with just 17,347 jobs despite its population of 92,933. This is largely the case because the city’s rapid growth is a recent phenomena. Thus, the city’s population serving sectors, while expanding, have not kept up with the growth in homes or people. Also, as a young city, Murrieta has a small manufacturing base and a growing but relatively small base of office jobs. Looking ahead, job growth will likely accelerate in response to the demand for goods and services by local consumers. It should also grow because many of the city’s well-educated workers will want to stop having long commutes, giving it a competitive advantage for firms that need their skills.
From 1991-2005, employment in Murrieta’s zip codes increased from 1,013 to 17,347, up 16,334 jobs. In this period, the city’s job growth rates generally far exceeded those of the Inland Empire. In 2005, its employed grew by 6.0% versus 4.8% for the region. In 2005, the city’s largest employing sectors were: retail trade (4,682), education (2,336) and construction (2,073). During the 1991-2005 period, the city’s job growth was led by retailing (4,593), construction (1,887), education (1,799), health services (1,560). The size and growth of these sectors is consistent with Murrieta’s rapid expansion of new homes occupied by families with children.
As Murrieta has grown, its economy has diversified. In 2005, 27.0% of the city’s jobs were in retailing, up from 8.7% in 1991. Education was next with 13.5% of jobs, down from 53.0% in 1991 when there was little other activity in the community. Similarly, construction fell from 18.4% in 1991 to 11.9% in 2005, despite adding workers. There were major gains in share by three sectors: the small sector group went from 7.5% to 17.0%; health services grew from 0.9% to 9.0% due to Rancho Springs Medical Center; and distribution group rose from 0.6% to 5.2%.
Murrieta’s economic growth can also be tracked via the total payroll released into the city. The pattern has been similar to employment, but far more aggressive. In 1991, payrolls from city firms and agencies totaled $21 million. By 2005, that had reached $570 million, up $548 million or a 26-fold increase. Adjusting for the 37.0% increase in the inflation, the purchasing power of city’s payrolls was still up $541 million or 25-fold. The largest payroll was in education at $97.2 million (16.3% share). It was followed by retail trade ($92.9 million; 15.3%), construction ($79.1 million; 13.8%) and health services ($66.6 million; 12.1%). The first three of these sectors were responsible for 45.8% of the city’s payroll growth from 1991-2005: education (up $83.8 million), retail trade (up $91.9 million) and construction (up $75.4 million).
From 1991-2005, Murrieta’s pay per worker rose from $21,040 to $32,844 (54.4%). The 2005 level was 8.4% below the Inland Empire’s $35,838 average. Deducting the 37.0% increase in Southern California prices took $7,776 of the $11,805 gain, leaving an average worker $4,029 in increased purchasing power (19.2%). In 2005, Murrieta’s best paying sectors were government ($67,058), finance, insurance & real estate ($44,876), health services ($42,460) and education ($41,620). Each requires either a higher education or specialized job skills. The city’s lower paying sectors were agriculture ($21,373), retailing ($19,839) and travel agencies ($17,282). From 1991-2005, Murrieta went from 92 to 1,302 firms and agencies. In 2005, the largest shares were in construction (238), retail trade (186) and “other” consumer services (153). The most growth was in the same sectors: construction (202), retailing (177), and “other” consumer services (144). Most of the city’s employers are small with the average number of workers growing from 11.1 in 1991 to a high of 14.2 in 2004 before falling to 13.3 in 2005. The Inland Empire’s average firm had 15.0 workers in 2005. In 2005, the exceptions to the small size rule were in education (88.1) and government (59.4). Retail trade (25.2) and hotel & amusement (23.3) were mid-sized. The other sectors averaged under 20 workers.
There is somewhat of a match between the jobs located in Murrieta and the sectors where its residents work. The 2000 Census found that the top sectors employing residents were education & government (20.1%+6.4%), retailing (14.4%), manufacturing (11.7%), construction (9.4%) and professionals (8.1%). The construction, education and retail sectors also are large sectors of the city’s economy, however professionals do not yet have a good source of local jobs. Meanwhile, the largest share of Murrieta’s residents indicated that their job titles were in management, professions and technology (33.0%) and sales (28.8%), well above average for the Inland Empire (25.8%; 25.0%). Here, the impact of the migration of high-end workers to the city from San Diego County is evident.