Explaining Southern California's economy

The Breakdown is moving

I got it! Moving box on back.

Meathead Movers/flickr Creative Commons

(Stock photo)

As of today, KPCC is moving Breakdown coverage to our main business page, where you will find KPCC’s ongoing news and information about Southern California business and the economy.

As a result, the Breakdown blog will no longer be updated. All previous Breakdown posts will remain available here as an archive.

Please let us know if there are issues you feel merit coverage. You can comment below, by email, on our Facebook page or on our Twitter feed (just "@" mention @KPCC).


Ports see worst congestion since 2004 because of work stoppage

Port Labor

Damian Dovarganes/AP

In this Jan. 14, 2015, photo, shipping containers are stacked up waiting for truck transport at the Port of Los Angeles.

The Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach reopened Monday after ship loading and unloading was suspended this weekend because of a long-running labor dispute, which caused the worst delays the ports have seen in more than a decade.

The stoppage led to a queue of 31 ships, according to Kip Louttit, Executive Director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California, the agency that manages ship traffic.

“It’s quite unusual,” said Louttit.

There was a 10-day lockout at the ports in 2002, and an eight-day strike by port clerks in 2012, but even during those standoffs, the queue never exceeded 30 vessels.

The last time that happened was in 2004, because of staffing shortages at the Union Pacific Railroad. Some 65 ships were anchored, "backed up halfway down to San Diego, like 50 miles down the coast," Art Wong, spokesperson for the Port of Long Beach, told JOC.com, a container shipping and international supply chain industry website.


Shared tech workspaces spread beyond sands of Silicon Beach

Cross Campus

People using a coworking space.

Cross Campus

A rendering of Cross Campus's new coworking space in Pasadena.

Cross Campus

Cross Campus founders Dan Dato and Ronen Olshansky.

Cross Campus

Cross Campus is housed in this building, which was purchased in late 2013 by Rising Realty Partners and David Sacks (famed Silicon Valley executive — Paypal founder and original COO, Yammer founder) and converted into a hub for technology companies.

Cross Campus

A rendering of Cross Campus's new coworking space in Pasadena.

Cross Campus

A rendering of Cross Campus's new coworking space in Pasadena.

Cross Campus

Elon Musk at a Cross Campus event.

In a sign of increased desire of professionals to work remotely, the successful Santa Monica shared workspace Cross Campus is opening a second location in Pasadena later this month, and the company hopes to open eight others in Southern California and beyond in the next two years. 

Dubbed by one user as  the “nerve center” of the Silicon Beach tech scene, Cross Campus opened its membership-based workspace facility in Santa Monica in 2012.   

But co-founder Ronen Olshansky said the shared workspace phenomenon isn't limited to coders. 

"Fewer and fewer people are making the traditional drive into the corporate office," Olshansky said. "They're working remotely as professionals, going off on their own as freelancers, or they're starting their own companies as entrepreneurs."  

A forecast from Forrester Research says that 43 percent of workers will telecommute by 2016, compared to estimates of about a quarter of the workforce telecommuting last year. 


Can LAX get as big as other top airports?

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

More than 70 passengers travelled through LAX last year, an all-time record.

Here’s a pop quiz: What is the world’s busiest airport?

Almost two weeks ago, Chicago's O'Hare International claimed the honor.

"As Chicago reclaims its place with the world’s busiest airport, it speaks to the strength of our city’s economy," bragged Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Not so fast, said Dubai, which last week said it was number one.

“This historic milestone is the culmination of over five decades of double-digit average growth," announced HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports.

Then, on Wednesday, Atlanta weighed in, and yes, it also claimed to be the champion.

“I am pleased to announce that once again – for the 17th year in a row – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the busiest airport on Planet Earth, with more than 96.1 million passengers,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said. 


From Sriracha sauce to jet engine parts, LAEDC tries to keep jobs in LA

Sriracha Factory - 6

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The LAEDC helped Huy Fong Foods reach a compromise to keep operating its Sriracha factory in Irwindale

Even as California loses manufacturing jobs, a program run by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation has fought to save some. 

When a company is considering relocating to take advantage of lower costs or an easier business climate, the LAEDC’s business assistance program steps in.  

It did so in the well-publicized case of Huy Fung Foods last year.  

When the city of Irwindale filed a lawsuit against the Sriracha sauce-maker because of bad smells, politicians from other states - most notably Texas - began to circle, offering the company a new home.  

Fighting against those suitors is a  familiar dance for the nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. Many states and municipalities have similar agencies, whose job it is to try to attract and keep employers.