Southern California, like many other areas in the state, faces a lot of challenges right now.
Many people want to know: Why is unemployment still so high? If I’m out of work, where can I find a job? Which industries are creating them? And how what are my elected leaders doing to stimulate our economy?
These are topics the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) tried to address during its mid-year economic forecast on Wednesday, exploring issues of job creation, the business climate, and the role of local and state government in that process.
Many attendees told California Forward their city leaders are taking steps in the right direction to help communities thrive, but how they’re spending their money is not transparent enough.
The mid-year forecast report released by the LAEDC’s Kyser Center for Economic Research found Southern California is actually in the middle of a moderate economic recovery.
“Los Angeles County’s economy is seeing modest improvements in 2011 and should do even better in 2012. The path to recovery seems to be paved in front of us,” says Chief Economist Nancy D. Sidhu of the LAEDC.
Sidhu says industries like high tech, international trade, tourism and entertainment are where people should turn to for jobs.
In fact, the entertainment industry is leading in job creation in the county. More filming is taking place, thanks in part to growth in advertising and the state film tax credit.
But, for the rest of California, the economic growth picture is not as pretty. Unemployment remains high in many parts of the state, and local and regional governments are struggling to find solutions with fewer resources. But economists predict the economic climate should get better moving into next year.
“There are plenty of headwinds and uncertainty in the markets right now,” says Perry Wong, senior economist for L.A. based City National Bank. “The government must minimize the political risk of a dragged on debt ceiling debate, because it has the potential of derailing any current economic recovery.”
While most economists see a lot of promise in 2012, they say the recovery outlook is still uncertain.