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Writers strike just a drop in L.A.'s bucket

December 02, 2007

According to estimates cited in The Times ("Many shows could take weeks to roll after the walkout ends," Nov. 28), the current writers strike -- if it ran 22 weeks (a very big "if") -- could cost $380 million to $1 billion.

The same story notes that the annual gross product of Los Angeles County is about $442 billion, or $187 billion for 22 weeks.

So let's do some long division. The strike, even if very prolonged, would amount to a cost of somewhere between 0.2% and 0.5% of local economic activity.

Bottom line: If you want to panic about the Los Angeles economy, worry about the real estate bust, the shaky stock market or the falling dollar. The strike may be high local drama, but it is of low economic significance.

Daniel J.B. Mitchell

UCLA professor of management and public policy

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