ONTARIO, CA-If what’s past is prologue, then Ontario is poised to recover more and faster than many other parts of the country when the US economic comeback finally gains momentum. Panelists―including an economist, a top broker, a major investor and a representative from Home Depot―presented a decidedly optimistic outlook for Ontario to an audience of 900 at the annual State of the City event at the Ontario Convention Center this week.

Ontario has set the stage to be a leader in the recovery because of what the city and the companies that have invested in it have accomplished in the past, according to the State of the City panelists: When the economy was expanding, millions of square feet of warehouse and distribution space were developed in Ontario in what has become one of the world’s largest logistics hubs―the largest in the world, some speakers said. In addition, the city sat in the midst of an Inland Empire economic and housing expansion that was one of the most robust in the country. So it only stands to reason that, once the recovery builds up a head of steam, Ontario is one of the cities best positioned to benefit because of its logistics hub, its transportation network and the city’s commitment to fostering growth via long-range planning.

That recovery is in its early stages, according to panelist Ross DeVol, director of regional economics at the Milken Institute, who said that, in his view, the recession ended in August last year. Although the recession hasn’t officially been declared over, DeVol said that a host of signs point to improvement in economic indicators like trade, jobs and housing. He said that upcoming reports on job growth will be pleasantly surprising, “especially here in the Inland Empire.”

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