The Breakdown

Explaining Southern California's economy

Report: LA hasn't had positive job growth in 23 years

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L.A. hasn't had positive job growth in the last 23 years, according to a new forecast released Wednesday. 

The UCLA Anderson Forecast said L.A. needs to make bigger strides in improving the education of its workers and business climate. The county has lost more net jobs than any large metropolitan area in the nation from 1990 to 2013, the forecast said.

"Right now, if we don't do well educating our next generation, when those kids grow up, they will still have less education like their parents," said economist William Yu. "It will be a disaster for them because they cannot find a job in this 21st century." 

L.A. County had an unemployment rate of 8.7 percent in February, compared to the national unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. 

The biggest factor on why L.A. lacks positive job growth is because of its low level of "human capital," the forecast said. Human capital is measured by looking at the level of education in adult workers. Research has shown if workers have more education, they are more likely to land jobs. L.A. metro ranked 26th out of 30 large metro areas in 2012 for human capital, the forecast said.

The report recommends improving education in L.A.'s public schools and encouraging highly educated people to move to L.A. 

RELATED: Report: Los Angeles has one of the nation's worst youth employment rates

The report also says that more can be done to improve the environment for businesses in L.A. The city received a low score on the 2013 Thumbtack Small Business Friendliness Survey, which factored in ease of starting a business and tax codes. Yu said one area of improvement could be making the process of applying for certain permits quicker.

Another challenge for improving job growth in L.A. is the high cost of living and traffic. Those factors can deter job candidates from moving out here, Yu said. For example, a median single family home costs $531,000 in L.A. compared to $220,000 in Phoenix, he said.

RELATED: Economist: Southern California 'worst' place in US to rent

The forecast's authors will present their findings at an event Wednesday morning in Downtown L.A. where L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is the keynote speaker.

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