Los Angeles County could see employment levels return to pre-recession levels a year quicker than previously forecast, but it’s still at least three years away as the county struggles to replace the 350,000 jobs lost during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, according to updated projections for the Southern California Association of Governments’ 4th Annual Economic Recovery & Job Creation Summit.
Each year, SCAG gathers leading economists throughout its six-county region to forecast economic and job activity. This year’s forecasts show a slight improvement for most of Southern California, though the rate of recovery overall remains painfully slow. For Los Angeles County, the best-case scenario calls for employment to return to pre-recession levels in 2017 at the earliest and 2019 at the latest. In either case, that’s a year ahead of the economists’ 2012 projections.
Even so, the county faces formidable challenges on the road to recovery. With job growth concentrated in lower paying, lower education occupations, Los Angeles County has seen average income levels drop and poverty rates increase.
“The recession hit LA County extremely hard, and its going to take time and an aggressive economic development effort to make up the difference between the quality – and income levels – of the jobs that were lost,” said Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG Executive Director.
The Economic Recovery & Job Creation Summit, Dec. 5 at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel, is the largest of its kind this year in Greater Los Angeles, gathering regional and business leaders, economists and educators to begin developing collaborative solutions to Southern California’s economic challenges.
The regional economic reports will be used to begin developing a coordinated, strategic Southern California workforce and economic development plan. For more information on the Summit, please visit www.scag.ca.gov.