Explaining Southern California's economy

CA labor office sides with port truck drivers

Mercer 18651

David McNew/Getty Images

Trucks are driven near the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, the busiest port complex in the US,

Truck drivers at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach who want to be classified as employees rather than independent contractors have scored another victory. A California labor office has ruled in favor of seven drivers for transport company Pacer International

In an administrative ruling that awards the truck drivers more than $2 million, a hearing officer with the California Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) wrote:

The Defendant considered the Plaintiffs to be independent contractors; however, the amount of control exhibited by the Defendant over the Plaintiffs was to such a degree that the Defendant knew or should have known that the Plaintiffs were employees.

An attorney for the drivers, David Arambula, said the ruling gives momentum to port truckers in a years-long dispute over their employment status.


Dodgers become first MLB team to air all games in Korean on TV

Ryu Hyun-Jin - 3

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Ryu is the first player to go directly from a Korean professional league to the major leagues in the U.S. He signed a six year, $36 million contract with the Dodgers.

The Dodgers have announced that starting with Friday’s home opener against the San Francisco Giants, they will become the first Major League Baseball team to have Korean-language Secondary Audio Programming (SAP) available for every game.

Last season, the Los Angeles Lakers, who like the Dodgers, have their own Time Warner regional sports network, became the first NBA team to broadcast every game in Korean. I profiled the two announcers and their rather inauspicious studio during one of the first assignments:

To find the Korean broadcasters, you have to open the door to a small storage room, half of which is used to keep lights and cameras. With no producer, no engineer, and no staff, the announcers watch the game on a TV smaller than most of us have at home. 

The Dodger announcers – Richard Choi and Chong Ho Yim – will broadcast from the stadium, but as with the Lakers, the Dodgers are trying to broaden their appeal to L.A.’s second biggest minority. There are more than 300,000 Koreans in the greater Los Angeles area, 70 percent of whom don’t speak English at home.


In SoCal business news: LA county losing jobs, LA Daily News on the block?, Disney's billion-dollar bracelet

Sign of the times? A "help wanted" sign in the window of a Philadelphia business last year.

Matt Rourke/AP

L.A. hasn't recorded positive job growth in the last 23 years, according to the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, which is being presented today downtown.

Hope everyone survived April fool's day. Here are the stories we're following on the KPCC business desk today:

  • L.A. hasn't recorded positive job growth in the last 23 years, according to the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, which is being presented today downtown. In fact, the county has lost more net jobs than any large metropolitan area in the nation from 1990 to 2013. The forecast predicts more unemployment ahead.
  • Digital First Media is shutting down its centralized news service, Project Thunderdome, "one of the news industry’s highest-profile experiments in centralized, digital-first, mobile-friendly, new-news-partner content creation," according to media analyst Ken Doctor. Doctor says DFM's papers, including the Los Angeles Daily News and the Long Beach Press-Telegram, will likely go on the auction block, with the company's majority owner. Alden Global Capital, likely wanting out. "They’re not yet on the market, but expect regional auctions of DFM properties (with clusters around the Los Angeles area, the Bay Area, New England, Philadelphia, and Texas) — unless Alden can find a single buyer, which is unlikely," predicts Doctor.


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

California Unemployment Tied For Highest In U.S. At 9.8 Percent

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Nicholas Herandez (L), listens to a representative from Raytheon Company during a jobs fair for veterans called "Serving Those Who Have Served" on March 20, 2013 in Los Angeles.

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.


Commercials with union talent now require tracking technology

From now on, all commercials made with union actors must include a digital code that allows the ads to be tracked across all media.  

SAG-AFTRA, The Association of National Advertisers  and the American Association of Advertising Agencies agreed in their current contract to adopt a technology known as Ad-ID by March 31.  The Web-based technology assigns each commercial an eleven or twelve-character code.  

Ad-ID Chief Growth Officer Harold Geller said the system will help advertisers measure the effectiveness of commercials on-air and on-line.

"Advertisers today are looking for what they call brand-specific commercial ratings, rather than aggregate ratings of the time period that a spot ran in," Geller told KPCC. "Using Ad-ID allows the measurement companies to get very granular and very timely in their reporting."