Los Angeles County, a Southern California slice of America where 10 million residents churn out an economy rivaling most nations, appears at at a tech employment inflection point.
The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. reported Wednesday that it expects a 4.3% unemployment rate this year — a razor-sharp margin from what county economists projected 12 months ago. The national unemployment rate now hovers at 3.6%, and California a few ticks higher.
The number of Angelenos expected to secure new jobs this year should hit about 50,000, according to calculations done via reports and statistics. But, as California's unemployment rate is stacked up against the national average, the LAEDC is flashing concerns about the right kind of jobs fueling the Golden State's economy.
The tech takeover — from automated HR departments to Hollywood's streaming prowess — is taking hold. And it's leaving California's prognosticators wondering where employment is going.
"Policymakers truly keen on ensuring sustainable and inclusive economic growth will need to focus not only on making Los Angeles ready for technology- and service-oriented work (and shielding them from the worst ravages of automation)," according to the report that dot.LA reviewed and will be released on Wednesday at an event in downtown Los Angeles.
"But they must also focus their efforts on measures that help more Angelenos afford decent (homes) for themselves and their families."
Indeed, the LAEDC reports that tech jobs — including all the Hollywood careers created by streaming and digital platforms — are among the top wage earners. The report lists software/developers/apps salaries at an average of $113,700 a year, while software/developers/systems jobs hit $124,500 a year.
Among the lowest earners in the payroll report by the LAEDC, waiters took home an average of $25,000 a year; cashiers garnered $24,700; and broader laborers in Los Angeles County received about $28,000 in compensation.
The LAEDC also weighed in on housing costs as part of the county's broader financial issues.
The commission reported that the average price of a home in L.A. county tipped in at $600,000. Building permits in the county dropped from 107,433 last year to a projected 92,000 in 2021.
"This failure to produce adequate housing supply will translate into higher median home prices," according to the report. "While there are any number of reasons why people choose to leave the state, or to put off having children, the dominant story is one of a housing markets so overheated that it is becoming increasingly less practical for those who do not already own a home to buy one."
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