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Healthy Job Growth Expected to Offset Losses in Some Areas

July 29, 1999|STEPHEN GREGORY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Projected job losses in Los Angeles County's entertainment, apparel and aerospace industries this year and next are expected to be mitigated by employment growth in other sectors such as construction, retailing and business services, local economists have concluded in a report to be released today.

While the state and local economy are predicted to slow somewhat by the end of next year, job creation and other economic indicators are expected to continue to post healthy, though moderate, growth, according to the 60-page report from the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp.

The report attributes much of the expected slowdown to an increase in interest rates by the Federal Reserve that is predicted for either late this year or early next year. Such a step would tighten the nation's money supply and serve to rein in the galloping U.S. economy.

Los Angeles County's job growth rate this year is expected to match last year's 2.1% increase, adding 84,000 positions to the region's payrolls. Next year's rate is forecast to rise another 1.9% despite an expected flight of jobs in three of the county's signature industries. Cheaper labor in Mexico and Canada will continue to lure away jobs in the apparel and motion picture production sectors, respectively, while a phaseout of three large commercial aircraft projects is expected to drain hundreds of jobs from the region's aerospace industry.

Over the next two years, the motion picture and aerospace and high-tech sectors alone are expected to lose a total of 18,000 jobs.

However, the retail, health services and business services sectors are expected to add nearly 100,000 jobs during that period, according to economist Jack Kyser of the LAEDC.

Meanwhile, the report's outlook for the state predicts a roughly 3% increase in jobs both this year and next, despite projections that California will lose 36,000 highly coveted high-tech jobs by the end of 2000.

With the exception of high-tech jobs, the state's other economic indicators, such as per capita income and taxable retail sales, are expected to grow by at least 5% during each of the next two years.

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