The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. has taken a line from Buzz Lightyear with the release of their 2012-2013 Annual Forecast: Emerging Opportunities and New Challenges in 2012 and Beyond.
Chief Economist Dr. Robert Kleinhenz, Associate Economists Kimberly Ritter-Martinez, and Ferdinando Guerra along with Research Assistant Rafael De Anda have just released a report featuring in-depth economic analysis of Los Angeles County’s economic status.
According to the report, if Los Angeles County were its own country it would rank 19th in Gross Domestic Product – smaller than Indonesia, but larger than Switzerland, Taiwan and Saudi Arabia.
After what is now being referred to as the Great Recession over 350,000 jobs were lost and the unemployment rate rose to 13 percent in LA County.
At the end of 2011 and the beginning of 2012, LA County has shown some economic gains but “recovery is lagging the state as a whole.”
According to the report the unemployment rate will drop over the next two years, “but at a painfully slow pace.” Although the county added 15,600 non-farm jobs in 2011, and should see an additional 22,700 in 2012, “it will take years for the county to return to the four million non-farm job threshold of the last decade.”
Several industries are poised for growth over the forecast period as the national economy continues to expand and recovery takes a firmer hold in the state economy.
International trade: With gradual improvement in the national economy, trade gains are in store for the year ahead as are increases in jobs.
Entertainment industry: Activity has increased, with overall film production rising modestly last year after a large rebound in 2010.
Tourism: Hollywood is drawing more business and leisure travelers. Occupancy rates averaged better than 70 percent last year.
Private education: Jobs grew throughout the recession, and the sector is poised for continued growth over the forecast period.
Healthcare services: Also added jobs during the course of the recession and should see job gains continue this year and next.
Retail sales: Will respond to improving conditions for households, with a marginal uptick in retail sales and employment in 2011 giving way to somewhat faster growth in 2012 and 2013.
Major construction projects: Will support the Los Angeles economy this year with projects at LAX, Metro and two ports being partly funded by the federal government.
Residential construction projects: Permits will register sizable percentage increases, but this part of housing is coming off a very low base and will take years to recover.
Local Government Finance: Will remain a big concern as it has during the recession and in the years since. The state’s chronic budget problems have hurt school district, city and county budgets. More layoffs and service cuts are expected in 2012, but jobs should turn slightly positive in 2013.
To read the entire forecast, click here: http://laedc.org/februaryforecast/forecastreport.pdf