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L.A.'s film, TV industry lost 16,100 jobs in 7 years, study finds

November 16, 2012|By Richard Verrier
  • A study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. says many entertainment industry jobs have gone to states offering incentives and tax breaks to the industry.
A study by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. says many entertainment… (Los Angeles Times )

The film and television industry in Los Angeles County has lost more than 16,000 jobs since 2004, mostly due to work migrating out of state, a new report revealed.

Last year, the film and television business generated 102,100 jobs in the county, down 14% from its peak of 118,200 jobs in 2004, according to a study released Friday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

During the same period, L.A.'s share of overall jobs in the motion picture and video category fell to 51% from 60%. (The figures exclude employment in the music and post-production industries.)

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Where did the jobs go? The LAEDC says much of it went to other states offering film incentives and tax breaks to the industry.

During the same 2004-2011 period, New York added 14,100 jobs while Georgia saw an increase of nearly 800 jobs. Louisiana added more than  2,200 jobs since implementing its pioneering film tax credit in 2002.

"California is at a competitive disadvantage because other states have made a concerted effort to create an attractive environment for film and television production," the study showed.

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The report lauded that California Legislature's recent decision to extend the state's film tax credit two more years, calling it a "significant development for the film and television industry, which should continue to pay big dividends for the industry." The program allocates $100 million annually in tax breaks. 

Notwithstanding the job losses, the study found that the overall entertainment industry remains one of the largest sectors in the local economy, employing 247,000 people in 2011, including independent contractors and those who work in the music and post-production industries.

The average annual wage in the entertainment industry was $117,000 in 2011, more than twice the average of $53,000 for all private-sector industries. The industry generates $120 billion annually in output and $6 billion in state and local taxes, according to the LAEDC.

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