Slow Growth Expected for Southland

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The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation issued its economic forecast Wednesday for California and the Southland. KPCC's Brian Watt has more.

Brian Watt: The forecast predicts painfully slow economic growth for the state and region this year and next. But, says Chief Economist Jack Kyser, all is not lost.

Jack Kyser: A lot of people are very pessimistic. They're using the recession word. We're not there.

Watt: But Kyser does predict that there will be what he calls a "spot recession" in Orange County in the first half of this year. The county has been hit hard by the crash in the subprime lending market.

Kyster: They lost a lot of very high paying jobs and you had a lot of office space given back by the subprime lenders to developers while there was a burst of new office construction. So they're gonna get hammered on two sides on real estate: in the housing sector and in the office market.

Watt: The subprime meltdown has made the housing market tough all over. Los Angeles County has had a record number of foreclosures, and Kyser says that problem could grow in the Antelope Valley. The forecast says Riverside and San Bernardino Counties will fare even worse because of the sheer volume of homes on the market. Industries that should see some growth, says the forecast, are tourism, legal services, and high tech.