The Hollywood jobs picture continued to improve last year.
Employment in Los Angeles' entertainment industry climbed nearly 4% in 2012, reflecting an upswing in feature film production in the fourth quarter and a surge in commercial shoots, which climbed to a record level last year as major brands spent more money on campaigns to promote their products.
The so-called motion picture and sound recording category — including those who work at the major film studios, music labels and post-production houses — employed an average of 129,675 people in 2012, up 3.7% from the average employment in 2011, according to the state Employment Development Department.
L.A. County employment in the category hit a high point for the year in December with 139,300 people on the payroll, up 3.3% over December 2011.
Average annual employment in the sector has increased over the last three years and has almost returned to what it was in 2008.
“It's good to see that we're finally returning to the level of employment in the industry that we saw before the recession, although we're still below the peak level that we experienced in the last decade,” said Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. “The question is whether these gains are going to be sufficient to overcome some of the loss of activity to other states.”
In one disquieting sign, employment in the radio and television and cable broadcasting category fell 1.6% to 17,925 jobs in 2012, when L.A. County experienced a historic falloff in the production of one-hour dramas to New York and other states that offer larger incentives to filmmakers.