Film and television production in Los Angeles could help rouse the area from its economic stupor, although growth will be slow this year and next, according to a forecast scheduled to be released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
"We're looking at an economy that is poised to start to growing again in 2011," said Nancy Sidhu, chief economist of the LAEDC.
The motion picture and TV production sector added 16,500 jobs in 2010, becoming one of the fastest-growing employment sectors, according to the forecast. It will continue to add jobs this year, as will international trade and tourism, Sidhu said.
L.A. County is projected to add 24,100 total jobs in 2011. But its unemployment rate, which was 13% in December and averaged 12.5% for all of 2010, will creep down only slightly this year to an average of 12.4% in part because of continued cuts in government employment, according to the forecast.
Residential building will remain slow because the county still has an oversupply of apartments and condos. The forecast predicts that the county will issue 8,490 residential building permits in 2011, down by about two-thirds from 2006, when it issued 26,300 permits. That number will rise to 13,055 units in 2012.
The state is in slightly better shape than Los Angeles, Sidhu said.
"California is a little bit ahead, and in 2011, we're looking to see the improvement spread," she said.
Areas with a heavy presence of technology firms are leading the growth, she said, including San Jose and San Diego. Manufacturing employment is also trending up.
The state's unemployment rate will hover around 12.1% this year, Sidhu said, declining to 11.5% by 2012.
California's budget woes will continue to plague job creation in the government sector, according to the forecast, and areas with weak housing markets will also be a drag on growth.
Still, the state's economy seems to have stabilized, Sidhu said.
"A year ago, this was much more in flux," she said. "To me, today, it looks pretty good."