1. Large market

The area is a large market in its own right, and it is still growing. There are 17.9 million residents in the five-county area, and nearly 10 million in Los Angeles County. The population increases between 2000 and 2010 were 1.5 million and 283,087 respectively. Census Bureau projections to 2025 indicate significant additional growth. In addition, there is quick access to markets in San Diego and Northern California, as well as Arizona and Nevada.

2. Large, well-trained workforce

The labor force in the 5-county area numbers more than 8.8 million, and a significant percentage has a bachelor’s degree or more. If your business has special training needs, the Workforce Investment Boards, community colleges, or the State Employment Training Panel can literally train workers to your order. Looking to hire or to be hired in the City of Los Angeles? Check out JobsLA.org »

3. Excellent access to national and international markets

There are six commercial airports in the area, three seaports plus the freeways and service by two rail carriers. The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach are numbers one and two in the nation in terms of container traffic handled, while LAX ranks 13th among the airports of the world in cargo traffic handled. LAX is served by 43 international carriers and all major freight lines. Read more about our ports.

4. A leader in international trade activities

In 2011, two-way trade flows through the Los Angeles Customs District totaled $387 billion. This total is for goods only, and does not include services (such as engineering and motion pictures). The Los Angeles – Long Beach port complex is #1 in the nation in both cargo tonnage and containers handled.

5. Large, well-established international trade business support infrastructure

These organizations provide networking and advice. Unique entities such as The Foreign Trade Association and the World Trade Center Association Los Angeles – Long Beach make getting involved in international trade or finding trade leads much easier.

6. Diversified economic base

Most people think of Los Angeles as the “three-legged” economy – aerospacemovies, and tourism. The reality is there are 14 significant industry clusters in the County, with new ones in the process of emerging. (Most of these industries sell goods or services to people outside the area, thus bringing “new” money into the local economy.) For a multi-earner household, all members can find good jobs.

7. A leader in the design and production of technology

The area is “technology-rich,” with Lockheed Martin’s fabled “Skunk Works,” Boeing’s multiple operations including space, military aircraft and satellite production, Northrop Grumman’s R&D activities and the Jet Propulsion Lab. Moreover, nearly 33,300 people work in computer systems design and software publishing activities.

8. A major force in apparel design and manufacturing*

Over 88,000 people are at work in apparel design, manufacturing and wholesaling activities. Los Angeles County is #1 in the nation in apparel manufacturing employment, and is a leading source of junior and contemporary fashion. Orange County has 14,300 people working in the apparel industry. People in the industry will tell you that New York often looks to Europe for fashion ideas, and Europe looks to Los Angeles.

9. A major cultural center

Los Angeles has a significant base in the fine and performing arts, with such flagships as the Getty Center and the Getty Villa, the Huntington Library and Gardens, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Norton Simon Museum, to name a few. There are also numerous performance locations, including the Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, the Disney Concert Hall, the famous Hollywood Bowl, and the Nokia Theatre.

10. A leading design center*

In addition to apparel design, Los Angeles is also a center for the design of autos, furniture and home furnishings items, and toys. Because of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, almost every major auto company has a design studio in the area.

* Creativity is big business in Southern California! Watch this video or view the full report [PDF] to learn more.

11. A major center for higher education

There are 121 campuses of higher education in L.A. County. This count includes one U.C. campus, five campuses of the California State University system, and private institutions like Caltech, the Claremont Colleges, Occidental College, Woodbury University and the University of Southern California. Caltech, UCLA, and USC are major research universities. Among the campuses, 33 are community colleges, which offer an array of programs, including computer assisted design and manufacturing, computer animation, apparel design and culinary arts. In addition, there are specialized institutions such as the Art Center College of Design, The Colburn School (of music), Otis College of Art & Design, and the California Institute of the Arts. Read more about our education industry.

12. A major force in the entertainment industry

The motion picture/TV production industry employs over 159,900 people, and generates receipts of $55.9 billion. The music industry is well known, plus the concert business, but information for these two industries is harder to track. Today, the entertainment sector definitely includes video game producers. Read more about our entertainment industry.

13. A leader in engineering design

According to the latest roster of top design firms published by Engineering News Record, four of the top ten design firms in the U.S. are located in Los Angeles County. These are supported by 9 engineering schools.

14. A leader in environmental technology

Be it remediation activities, prevention of pollution, water quality expertise, or alternate fuel vehicle technology, Los Angeles has a significant and growing base, with the engineering firms providing a diverse array of expertise. 

15. A leader in health services

Training, education and research are supported by four medical schools, three dental schools, and specialized treatment facilities such as the Doheny Eye Clinic at USC, the House Ear Institute, and the Stein Eye Clinic at UCLA. Also, the City of Hope in Duarte carries out advanced cancer treatment and research. Read more about our health services industry.

16. A leading tourist destination

In 2011, 26.9 million overnight visitors came to Los Angeles and spent $15.2 billion. The area is home to four of the nation’s top theme parks, and is the location of the “real” Hollywood, which is in the midst of a major renaissance. Many of the major tourist destinations are linked by rail and bus transit. Read more about our tourism industry.

17. A transportation leader

Of course, there are all the freeways, which are being constantly upgraded, including the addition of car pool lanes. It’s no surprise that LA is a leader in “intelligent highways” technology. Toll roads, rail commuter service, subway and light rail are in operation. Currently, over 300 miles of rail transit service are available, with more on the way. Read more about our transportation.

18. A good environment for entrepreneurs

Los Angeles has a superb support infrastructure for entrepreneurs, which includes entrepreneurial training programs at both UCLA and USC, and a well-developed network of small business development centers. LARTA (Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance) provides support for a variety of small technology-related firms, as does the Southern California Bio-Medical Council.

19. Competitive cost structure

While it is a major urban area, Los Angeles is surprisingly competitive cost-wise. For example, the 2008 survey from the American Chamber of Commerce Researchers Association (ACCRA) indicates that Los Angeles was tenth in the nation in cost for a professional management lifestyle, after New York, San Francisco, and Orange County.

20. The weather and geography

This is an easy one. With a mean temperature in January of 58.3 degrees and in July of 74.5 degrees, along with an annual rainfall of 14.8 inches and 329 days of sunshine, what could be better? And the combination of beaches, deserts, valleys, and mountains is one you will not find anywhere else.