Explaining Southern California's economy

Los Angeles's share of pilot production falls, while New York's continues to rise

Hollywood Sign

Vlasta Juricek/flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles continued to lose its share of television pilot productions in the most recent season, while New York established itself as the leader for production of one-hour pilots, according to a new report out Tuesday from FilmL.A.    

Of the 203 pilots filmed in the 2013-14 development season, 90 shot in the Los Angeles area, giving the region a 44 percent share. Last year, L.A.’s pilot production share was 52 percent, and six years earlier, 82 percent, according to the report.  

(Credit: FilmL.A.)

Of the 90 pilots shot in L.A., 19 were for hour-long dramas, but New York grabbed 24 drama projects and dethroned L.A. as the leader in the drama pilot category. 

“Losing television pilots — and then series — to other North American competitors leads to the destruction of steady, well-paying California jobs,” said Paul Audley, president of FilmL.A., the not-for-profit that issues permits to productions shooting on location in the L.A. area.


With help from Teamsters, LA Uber drivers try to organize

uber rideshare

Photo by Mike/anotherpintplease via Flickr Creative Commons

Uber's had a tough go of it lately, facing increased regulation from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Legislature, sharp criticism from the CPUC and the L.A. City Council, and a string of bad headlines.

The company was also recently valued at $18.2 billion, so it's hard to feel too bad for Uber, but now you can add another challenge: the beginnings of a movement to organize Los Angeles drivers. Seattle drivers organized last month.

Organizers are expecting up to 500 Uber drivers – supported by Teamsters Local 986 – to hold a demonstration Tuesday morning in front of the Uber offices in Santa Monica. 

Uber calls its drivers "partners," but Joseph DeWolf, a spokesman for drivers who are trying to organize says they often feel they get the short end of the stick.


A bad sign for the future of Uber? UberX lowers rates 25 percent in LA


Lucy Nicholson/Reuters /Landov

The transportation app Uber matches ride-seekers with drivers.

Uber is temporarily lowering fares by 25 percent in Los Angeles for its low-cost UberX service, the company announced in a blog post Thursday, only six months after it lowered fares in 16 U.S. cities, including L.A., by as much as 30 percent.

The company won't say how long the discounting will last, but the move appears to be aimed at growing or at least maintaining marketshare in the very competitive ride-sharing industry where Uber competes with Sidecar and Lyft, to name a few, which are all trying to further squash out taxis. 

Uber just completed a $1.2 billion fundraising round, which values the company at a staggering $18.2 billion, though according to NYU finance professor Aswath Damodaran, writing in FiveThirtyEight Economics, Uber only has a few hundred million dollars in revenue. It's common for start-ups to focus spending on sales and marketing in the early stages of building their business. Uber has also been sending out $30 credits to some customers.


California's jobless rate falls to 7.6 percent

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California unemployment rate continued its steady decline in May to 7.6 percent, thanks in part to the addition of nearly 40 thousand jobs.

California's unemployment rate hit 7.6 percent in May, maintaining its steady decline to pre-recession levels, the state Employment Development Department reported on Friday.

The state is now just 1,800 jobs short of its employment peak seven years ago — before the Great Recession. California's job growth is outpacing the country's and is second only to Texas. California added 40,000 jobs in May. 

Jordan Levine of Beacon Economics said businesses throughout the country have invested in infrastructure and efficiency, and that plays to California's strengths.     

"And I'm thinking about things like professional, scientific, and technical consulting services, or software development, or different types of equipment that help businesses do a lot more with less," Levine told KPCC.


Fall horse racing meet to move from Pomona Fairplex to Los Alamitos


Benjamin Brayfield/KPCC

A rider warms up a race horse during a morning workout session at Los Alamitos Race Course.

Los Alamitos Race Course in Orange County has already added some thoroughbred horse racing dates to its calendar. Now it's about to add even more. 

On Thursday, the California Horse Racing Board unanimously approved a plan to move a horse racing meet that normally happens at Pomona’s Fairplex during the Los Angeles County Fair to Los Alamitos. 

Pomona’s Fairplex has featured horse racing for more than seven decades, but officials say attendance and betting at the horse racing track has declined in recent years.  Los Alamitos executive Brad McKenzie told the state horse racing board that management from both facilities agreed that now’s the right time to move the meet.

"It means more opportunity to present this sport into a new market, and more opportunity for us to have money for further infrastructure," Mckenzie told the board, adding that it will lead to more betting and therfore bigger purses at Los Alamitos.