Oct. 13, 2014
While progress in the national and state economies has boosted confidence, optimism on the part of both consumers and businesses has been tempered by caution. Following a 3.0% increase in 2013, nonfarm jobs are expected to increase by 2.2% in both 2014 and in 2015. The unemployment rate will fall from 8.9% in 2013 to 7.5% this year and 7.0% in 2015. With continued improvement in the labor market, both personal income and total taxable sales should increase by four to five percent in each of the next two years.
In spite of a long-term decline in manufacturing employment, California maintains a large base of manufacturing capabilities and strengths in a diverse set of manufacturing industries, from food processing and furniture to aerospace and medical devices.
Los Angeles County has a unique history as a place of opportunity and growth—of providing a wide range of opportunity for people of all backgrounds, educational levels, and income groups. It is particularly famous as an engine of opportunity for the middle class—it is iconic as a place of suburbs clustered around suburbs. The absence of a core city center around which all regional activity is clustered is a testament to the overwhelming rise of a middle class who desired the relative space and distance that the suburban experience provides.
Los Angeles County has established very close economic ties with China. The Los Angeles Customs District (LACD) handles over 40% of total U.S., trade with China. Indeed, the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together handle nearly 37% of total trade between China and the U.S. In fact, roughly 60% of two-way trade volumes at the Port of LA and the Port of Long Beach and over 50% of the total two-way trade value at the Los Angeles Customs District (LACD) are related to trade with China.
With the U.S. economy advancing slowly but surely in 2013 and with the nation’s major trading partners in various stages of recovery or expansion, international trade at the national level grew modestly last year and let to continued improvement in the Southern California goods movement and trade picture. The Los Angeles Customs District (LACD) held onto the top spot among customs districts for two-way trade last year, while container activity at the San Pedro ports – the largest port complex in the Western Hemisphere -- finally rose above the 14 million container plateau of recent years. Transportation and warehousing employment increased for the third year in a row.