Los Angeles Business Journal

Forecast: More Slow Growth for L.A. Economy

By Howard Fine Wednesday, June 20, 2012

L.A.’s economy will continue its frustratingly slow recovery for the next two years, with the local unemployment rate remaining in double digits through 2015, according to a forecast to be released Wednesday from Beacon Economics.

Los Angeles County will add about 60,000 payroll jobs this year – a relatively meager growth rate of 1.5 percent – according to the Beacon forecast. Next year, the county should add about 80,000 jobs for a growth rate of 2 percent.

Because of this slow job growth, the county’s unemployment rate – now 11.4 percent – is not forecast to dip back into single digits until late in 2015 or early 2016.

Forecast author Jordan Levine said that although the region’s economy hit bottom during the 2008-09 recession, L.A. County continues to lag both the state and the nation in job growth. The county was hit disproportionately hard because of a steep falloff in construction.

Also, a pickup in consumer spending – which is expected to top pre-recession highs next year – has not translated into job creation as companies are uncertain how long the consumer demand for their products will last.

Looking ahead, Levine said the biggest worry for Los Angeles County is the fragile manufacturing sector. “Manufacturing, traditionally an important source of growth in the region, does not seem to be experiencing the same renaissance being seen in much of the rest of the nation,” he said.