Los Angeles Business Journal

Report: L.A. Economy Gains Steam

By Howard Fine Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The economy in the city of Los Angeles grew at a faster rate than the nation last year, according to a report released by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce Wednesday.

The report, prepared by Beacon Economics, a Los Angeles economic consulting firm, said the city of Los Angeles had a 3.8 percent increase in payroll jobs to about 1.5 million jobs last year, the sharpest increase since 2005 and nearly double the national rate.

But the job growth was most concentrated in four of the city’s 15 council districts: just north of downtown, the Westside, west of downtown and the southeastern San Fernando Valley. Eight council districts saw little job growth, while three council districts saw job losses.

What’s more, average wages in the city fell 2.3 percent last year to $57,740. That means more low-wage jobs were added to the economy.

“This is very much a good news/bad news report,” Beacon economist Christopher Thornberg told city councilmembers Wednesday. “Overall, the city economy is improving, but the growth is very uneven and has not spread to all parts of the city.”

Thornberg said construction activity is one of the bright spots, with permits for multifamily units jumping 28 percent last year to 6,766 units and the total value of all building permits rising more than 20 percent to $2.9 billion.

Consumer spending in the city was strong last year as sales tax receipts rose 5 percent to $452 million. Business growth was slower, as the value of gross receipts collected by the city rose 3 percent to $437 million.

The chamber presented the report to the council on Wednesday during an annual meeting with city leaders.