Economic Insights & Data Resources


As the official Southern California affiliate of the U.S. Census Bureau, SCAG compiles detailed demographic data for the region and tracks new data releases, many of which are used in developing growth projections for Connect SoCal. 

Economic Roundtable  

Since 2009, SCAG has convened a team of independent economists representing the region’s counties and key specialty areas to collaborate with SCAG expert staff to assess the economic landscape of the Southern California region. In 2022, the renamed “Economic Roundtable” began meeting quarterly to discuss trends, data and current events impacting the region’s economy. Quarterly reports can be found below and on the SCAG news feed, and all accompanying economic data for the region can be visualized on and exported from the SCAG Economic Trends Tool. The “Regional Briefing Book” is SCAG’s comprehensive annual report and near-term outlook on Southern California’s economic landscape and is shared at the annual economic summit

Economic Roundtable Members:    

Imperial County

  • Michael Bracken, Managing Partner & Chief Economist, Development Management Group, Inc.  

Los Angeles County

  • Shannon Sedgwick, Director, Institute for Applied Economics, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation  

Orange County

  • Wallace Walrod, Chief Economic Advisor, Orange County Business Council  

Riverside and San Bernardino Counties

  • Manfred Keil, Robert Kleinhenz & Fernando Lozano, Inland Empire Economic Partnership  

Ventura County

  • Mark Schniepp, Director, California Economic Forecast  


  • David Roland-Holst, Research Professor, UC Berkeley, and Managing Director, Berkeley Economic Advising and Research  


  • Karthick Ramakrishnan, Professor of Public Policy, University of California, Riverside 

Economic Roundtable Updates: 

Regional Growth Forecasting 

SCAG develops a three-decade projection of population, household, and employment growth every four years for Connect SoCal at the region, county, jurisdiction, and Transportation Analysis Zone levels. Unlike a short-run projection, which depends heavily on economic cycles, long-run regional growth is driven by births, deaths, migration and the composition of the region’s industries relative to the rest of the country. The growth forecast process begins by convening a demographic panel of experts. Local jurisdictions provide, review and integrate project-level information through the Local Data Exchange process.   

The latest growth forecast data and technical details can be found in Connect SoCal Demographics & Growth Forecast Technical Report and in agendas from SCAG’s Technical Working Group.   

State Census Data Center Updates and Releases 

SCAG is the officially designated Southern California affiliate to the State Census Data Center program. Statewide program information and data releases are available online through the California Department of Finance. SCAG provides brief updates and analysis on the most up-to-date population, housing, and socioeconomic trends when new data are released. Data are regularly integrated into the regional plan development process.  

Job Quality Index

To create a new benchmark of understanding for the region’s job markets, SCAG has published the Job Quality Index Framework (JQI) as both a report and a database. SCAG first proposed development of a county-level job quality index for the region in the Inclusive Economic Recovery Strategy (IERS) report (2021). The state of California awarded a one-time state grant, with support from State Senator Susan Rubio (D-District 22), for SCAG to implement the IERS, including development of the Job Quality Index.  

The JQI can inform policy decisions and measure progress toward a more resilient, inclusive and equitable economy for Southern California, as outlined in Connect SoCal 2024. SCAG’s Job Quality Index is weighted by the findings of a survey of 2,900 workers across demographic groups and geographic locations in Southern California. Policymakers and business leaders can benefit from a clearer understanding of what workers want from jobs to improve sector competitiveness and workplace conditions, while workers can also benefit from improvements that contribute to their quality of life. 

Research Reports & Findings  

The “Economic Impacts of Equity” report measures the economic effect of wage gaps between racial and gender groups and the potential benefit of closing those gaps. Read the full report online.

SCAG worked with the Population Reference Bureau to develop the “Considerations for Regional and Subregional Forecasting in California” white paper.  


SCAG Publishes New ‘Job Quality Index’ for Southern California

Quality jobs provide a foundation for economic growth and resilience against economic downturns. However, like many regions, Southern California has traditionally lacked data or frameworks to measure the quality of jobs in its large, complex economy. There are a wide range of approaches for measuring job quality overall—a task that becomes even more difficult when considering the nuances and limited data availability in a single region such as Southern California.  


SCAG Economic Roundtable Update

Second Quarter, 2024

SCAG’s Economic Roundtable met for its second 2024 quarterly discussion on the state of the regional economy. In addition to discussing employment, the labor market and the macro-economy, economists discussed the causes and implications of challenges in the California insurance market and the outlook for the region’s logistics industry. The following overarching themes emerged from the conversation: