This is both good and bad news. Metropolitan Los Angeles is experiencing growth while many other large cities are shrinking. Chicago come to mind as a city that has lost 1/3 of its population. The key sentence in the following article is “Unfortunately, many of those jobs are low paying positions that would make it tough for someone to support a family.” The median price of a home in LA County is $526,000 according to Zillow. They have gone up 6.5% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 1.6% within the next year. The solution for low paid workers is to commute to work. That could mean a one and half hour travel time. Many people are doing exactly that. Outbound freeways are jammed with cars every evening.
A new report from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. reveals that L.A. County will add 346,00 jobs between 2015 and 2020, including 20,900 in the construction industry. Leo Jarzomb — Staff photographer
By Kevin Smith, San Gabriel Valley Tribune
Posted: 06/01/16, 12:41 AM PDT | Updated: 14 hrs ago
Los Angeles County is expected to add 346,000 jobs between 2015 and 2020 across a broad range of industries, according to a report released today.
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.’s annual “People, Industries and Jobs” report shows that 123,000 of those jobs will be in the city of Los Angeles.
Construction, professional and business services, education and health services and leisure and hospitality will see the biggest growth rates in percentage terms. But the lion’s share of new jobs will come from administrative and support services (57,560), Food services and drinking places (39,510), social assistance (34,30) and professional and technical services (33,300).
Unfortunately, many of those jobs are low paying positions that would make it tough for someone to support a family.
On the plus side, construction is expected to add 20,900 jobs, which bodes well for both housing activity and commercial expansion.
Southern California’s construction industry took a heavy hit during and after the Great Recession, which began in late 2007 and ended in June 2009, as developers pulled back on building housing projects and commercial developments — sometimes curtailing activity altogether.
“We’ve been waiting for that industry to rebound,” said economist Christine Cooper, the LAEDC’s senior vice president and lead author of the report. “It has just been really hard.”
But the industry is rebounding and Southland developers have a variety of residential projects in the works.
KB Home, for example, has 10 housing developments underway in Los Angeles County in such communities as Santa Clarita, Van Nuys, Palmdale, Pomona, West Covina and Los Angeles.
An annual report on the company’s website shows that KB delivered 8,196 homes throughout its various U.S. markets last year compared with 7,215 the previous year and 7,145 in 2013. KB’s revenues have likewise risen, topping out at more than $3 billion last year compared with the $2.4 billion the company generated in 2014.
“As the housing market recovers, construction industries are expected to make a robust recovery,” the LAEDC report said. “Housing starts are showing signs of life after a dismal few years, and will be needed to meet pent-up demand.”
The report notes, however, that L.A. County’s economic recovery has been generally disappointing and that the region didn’t recover all of the jobs that were lost during the recession until last year. Moreover, the recovery that has taken place doesn’t take into account the job growth needed to accommodate the county’s ongoing population and labor force growth.
The report also shows a clear correlation between educational attainment and unemployment.
In 2014, the jobless rate for L.A. County residents with a high school education or the equivalent was 9.4 percent, nearly double the 5 percent rate for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher. That same kind of disparity played out in the city of L.A.
The median annual earnings for an L.A. County resident with a high school education or the equivalent was $26,049 in 2014. That figure is dismal when compared with the yearly median income of someone with a bachelor’s degree ($50,976) or someone with a graduate or professional degree ($71,596).
The largest share of working residents in the county (33.3 percent) earn $15,000 to $35,000, and nearly 8 percent earn just $15,000 or less. Still, Cooper said progress is being made on the education front.
“We’ve been doing these reports for a number of years and we’re seeing that more young people are gaining higher levels of educational attainment,” she said. “We see that as a really bright spot.”
That may be bright. But a not-so-bright portion of the study shows that nearly 323,300 of the 2.19 million families who were living in Los Angeles County in 2014 had their incomes fall below the poverty level in the previous 12 months. A large portion of that number included children and young working age adults.
Single mothers with children under 18 accounted for nearly 40 percent of those living below the poverty line.
“The good news is that our region is adding jobs across most industries, and is expected to continue its expansion,” Cooper said. “However, although we are seeing some job growth in high-paying industries, it is clear that not enough of our projected job gains are skilled, well-paying jobs that will support middle class incomes. We need to work together to change this trajectory, by fostering job creation in our leading export-oriented industries, which tend to pay higher wages and strengthen regional prosperity overall.”
Cooper said California’s new minimum wage requirements, which will boost the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022, will likely have some negative effects.
“Some businesses will choose to replace lower skilled workers will people who have higher skills,” she said. “And it will also lead to an increase in automation.”