Explaining Southern California's economy

Construction helps California lead nation in job creation in August

Job Seekers Look For Open Positions At Career Fair In San Francisco

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A job seeker fills out an application during a career fair at the Southeast Community Facility Commission on May 21, 2014 in San Francisco

California employers added 44,200 jobs in August, the largest gain of any state in the country. The state's unemployment rate stood still at 7.4 percent, compared to 6.1 percent nationwide.

"When the national numbers came out for August, and we saw a significant slowdown in job creation, we were a little bit concerned that we'd see the same thing happening here," said economist Kimberly Ritter-Martinez of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. "But in California, we stayed pretty much on track, outpacing the nation in terms of job creation." 

The construction sector was a huge contributor to California's job growth in August, with a gain of 13,600 jobs.  The other sectors with large gains were Education/Health Services (+12,200), and Professional/Business Services (+10,600). 


Warner Brothers job cuts determined by financial target

We reported last week that layoffs were coming soon to Warner Brothers, but how many positions will be cut is still unknown.  

A spokesman for Warner Brothers Entertainment, Paul McGuire, told KPCC there's no exact number yet. "There is no headcount reduction target, but there is a substantial financial target," Maguire said. 

“This is a budget issue, not a head count issue,” Dee Dee Myers, Warner Brothers Vice President of Corporation Communications told Variety.  The trade publication reports that Warner Brothers is expected to eliminate as many as 1,000 positions worldwide - or about 10 percent of its workforce:

Senior managers are currently assessing their businesses to come up with ways to trim overhead. Only at the end of that process will an exact reduction figure be known. It could be somewhat lower than the current numbers being speculated, but cuts are expected to be substantial.  


Los Angeles is one of the poorest big cities in the nation, new Census numbers show

Los Angeles To Allow Homeless To Sleep On Sidewalks

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Last year was the second straight year the poverty rate stayed flat after four years of going up in the United States.

Income in greater Los Angeles is rising – slightly - according to new American Community Survey numbers released Thursday from the Census Bureau, but greater L.A. still ranks as one of the poorest major metropolitan areas in the nation.

The L.A. area (defined as L.A., Long Beach and Anaheim) had a median household income of $58,869 last year, which is $804 more than the year before, but still $1540 under the 2010 level, during the first full year after the recession.

"These numbers paint a bleak picture for California,” said Marybeth Mattingly, a researcher at Stanford University’s Center on Poverty and Inequality.

Mattingly is particularly troubled by the child poverty rate, which was 25.3 percent in 2013, up from 22.6 percent in 2010.

“In the West, Hispanics have the highest poverty with nearly one in three Hispanic kids poor, and it's even a little higher for blacks” she said.


Gov. Brown to sign Film/TV production tax credit bill in Hollywood

Governor Brown Declares Statewide Drought Emergency

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California Jerry Brown will sign a bill to expand California's film and television tax credit program into law in Hollywood

A moment Hollywood's been waiting a while for will take place... in Hollywood. 

A ceremony is planned for Thursday morning at the Chinese Theater where Governor Jerry Brown will sign the "California Film and Television Job Retention and Promotion Act" into law.

The bill - also known  as AB 1839 — will more than triple the funding for California's film and television production tax credit program. 

The push to expand and enhance the tax credit program has been going on for more than a year. In August of 2013, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti used the term "state of emergency" to characterize the flight of film and television production to other states and countries. Garcetti is expected to speak at the ceremony. 

Los Angeles-area Assemblymen Mike Gatto and Raul Bocanegra are also expected to be on hand. They introduced AB 1839 in February and moved it strategically through the legislature in Sacramento. While there were few vocal opponents of expanding the tax credit program, the big question was by how much. Many supporters hoped to see the annual pot raised from the current $100 million to at least $400 million, but an exact dollar amount wasn't specified until very late in the legislative process.


With signing of insurance bill, Lyft, Uber ridesharing loophole comes to an end

lyft rideshare carpool

Photo by Daniel X. O'Neil via Flickr Creative Commons

AB 2293 bans drivers from using their personal policies and mandates that drivers have to be covered from the moment they turn on their app and look for customers.

Amid all the talk about cutting-edge technology, much of Uber and Lyft’s success actually owes to that fact the ride-sharing companies have been able to exploit a basic loophole: The companies foist the cost of insurance on their drivers, but the drivers' insurance companies don’t know they are underwriting cars for hire, and even if drivers wanted to be honest and get a policy that would cover ride-sharing, they couldn’t, because no such policy exists.

AB-2293, introduced by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla (D-Concord) and signed into law Wednesday by Governor Jerry Brown, tries to close the loophole by paving the way for insurance companies to offer hybrid personal/commercial policies by next summer.

Uber once derided the bill as a backroom deal between insurance companies and trial lawyers.