What is the Jobs Crisis?

Never before

At no other time in history has economic and industrial change occurred at such an accelerated pace. This is true at the global level, and it is certainly true for the Los Angeles region. The technology revolution of recent decades caused a transition from low-tech, routine production to an information-age economy, where even manufacturing is much less labor-intensive and more technology-driven, and economic rewards are earned by the highly skilled and well educated.


These economic transitions and the speed at which they are moving require us to answer the following trillion-dollar questions: “how will our region quickly adapt to take advantage of these changes and foster sustained regional economic prosperity?” and “how do we ensure that this prosperity is distributed equitably, so the economically distressed will also experience higher standards of living and participate in the ‘American Dream’?”

In the past, a high school graduate had a lot of opportunity to take an entry level job, such as in manufacturing, and work his way up into a middle income career to support a family. Now, those same manufacturers are looking for advanced skills.

The information age presents L.A.’s residents with both the promise of economic success and the peril of being left behind.

Skills requirements changing

Unlike the move from an agricultural economy to a manufacturing-based one 150 years ago, when a worker needed little training to move seamlessly from the field to a factory floor, moving from a production-based economy to an information age one today requires much higher levels of skills, technology experience and education.

In other words, advanced education is becoming critical for well-paying jobs, and residents in L.A.’s workforce need resources to upskill, leading to more access to good job opportunities.

But, it’s not just an education and workforce training challenge—there are many considerations that will affect how competitive the Los Angeles region remains in the face of these increasingly complex changes, from different and more flexible physical spaces, urban designs and infrastructure to more focused and tailored public policies and trade programs.

Where will jobs be created?

For answers to these questions, L.A. County’s public, private, education and philanthropy leaders have begun to look at implementing industry cluster development strategies, such as in Los Angeles County’s Strategic Plan for Economic Development and Los Angeles County’s recent recommendation to develop a Countywide Industry Sector Development Strategy, as a way to build further capacity and advance high growth potential economic drivers – and thus spur more and higher-paying jobs – in the county’s regionally concentrated export-oriented industries. When these industries grow, there are positive multiplier effects that spillover onto the entire economy, including increasing average wages and job counts in our region’s population-serving industries, such as construction, hospitality and retail.

What are Industry Clusters?

They are geographic concentrations of related firms, organizations and institutions that are present in a particular region. For example, think aerospace in SoCal, and its ecosystem of R&D, educational institutions, designers, service providers, major businesses and small suppliers, trade associations, aerospace finance, exporters…and all that makes the industry thrive in the region.

Evidence suggests that focused development of industry clusters improves performance of regional economies – and can unleash incredible growth potential when used as an approach that cuts across the traditional fields and tools of economic, community and workforce development, helping to enhance their effectiveness.

Traded or export-oriented industries sell goods and services beyond the region in which they are located. They produce a reinforcing cycle of job creation, real wage growth, investment and economic prosperity, while also driving the local service economy, triggering ripple effects that are felt across our local businesses (in terms of jobs, wages and tax revenues), and offering the best chance for bringing greater prosperity to more residents and raising standards of living across more of L.A. County’s communities.

Take a Deeper Dive

More details on the challenges we face

Be Part of the Solution

Engage with LAEDC initiatives and programs

Upskill our Workforce

How will residents access job opportunity?

The Jobs of the Future?

What industries will create jobs?

Take a Deeper Dive

Learn more about the changing nature of work and jobs, to better understand the kinds of jobs and skills requirements we’ll see in the near future.  Please read the article to the right, Navigating the Unprecedented Economic Transition.

In addition, LAEDC thanks our content partner WorkingNation for helping bring to light the challenges our economy faces, which highlights the importance of LAEDC’s mission.  Below you will find a roundtable discussion of the loss of manufacturing jobs at the Carrier factory, which highlights forces that are affecting the entire nation including Southern California.  Further down the page, we offer ideas on initiatives and programs to help address related challenges.

This “Slope of the Curve” animation explains the accelerating pace at which technology and innovation is impacting jobs.  Some estimates indicate that over 40% of jobs may be threated by automation.
This roundtable explores loss of jobs at Carrier and the upskilling that is needed for workers to find new jobs.  While it appears that many jobs will be saved at Carrier, the story is still playing out at many manufacturers.
A 1-minute snapshot of the challenges the U.S. faces regarding job opportunity in the present and the future
The Skills Gap:  What skills do our people need to stay afloat in this economic transition?

Videos by WorkingNation, LAEDC’s non-profit content partner based in LA

To view videos in a larger player, use these links:  Slope of the Curve    Roundtable    One-minute Snapshot   Skills Gap

Jobs Threatened by Machines: A Once ‘Stupid’ Concern Gains Respect (The New York Times)

Read Article

Be Part of the Solution

LAEDC programs and initiatives offer strategies and vehicles by which we can successfully adapt to the changing global economy.  Much of our focus at LAEDC is fostering creation of well-paying jobs today and in the future, in key industries of our region.  Additionally, our residents must be able to access those opportunities by having the right skills and support.  Both of these topics are covered in the following resources:

SPĒD L.A. – The 2016-2020 L.A. County Strategic Plan for Economic Development was developed through public meetings and a consensus process during which strategies were defined for our region and its residents, to navigate the changing economy.  The challenges outlined on this page are directly addressed by implementation of SPĒD L.A., and collaboration is crucial.  Help implement SPĒD L.A.

Industry Cluster Initiatives – To foster the growth of well-paying jobs, LAEDC is building regional capacity in key, traded industries and facilitating public industry councils.  For example, LAEDC has active initiatives in aerospace, advanced transportation, biosciences, and more. Participate

LAEDC membership – Join LAEDC and be part of the design of programs that will increase widely shared economic opportunity as we help our residents and the region navigate the rapid economic transition.  Join

Help our Community Colleges Align with Industry Skills Gaps – Great examples exist (see below) of community colleges working with local employers to develop certificate programs and coursework specific to the skills requirements and future occupations at these local employers.  Participate in the Strong Workforce initiative, and/or contact [email protected]

Upskilling our Workforce

As work becomes more technical and skills requirements change, so too will the training and education processes need to adjust. LAEDC collaborates with colleges, workforce investment boards, local employers, and other stakeholders to dramatically improve workforce development, to help our residents get great jobs, and to fix the skills gap faced by many local employers.

Read the LAEDC Workforce Study, which includes occupational forecasts and skills requirements: 2016 People, Industry, and Jobs here.

avcc-northrop-imageAntelope Valley College, Northrop Grummon and other stakeholders have teamed-up to train local workforce.

Read the story HERE 

Watch the video below about another region’s community college aligning with a local manufacturer!  (Kentucky Bluegrass Community Technical College and Toyota)

Los Angeles has an exciting new Year Up job training program for age 18-24, operating at West Los Angeles College, and it needs business partners and mentors.  Watch how it works.

How FutureProof Are You?  Take the quiz on WorkingNation’s website and gain some perspective.

 Link to Quiz

The Digital Divide and our Workforce

Americans fall along a spectrum of preparedness when it comes to using tech tools to pursue learning online, and many are not eager or ready to take the plunge (Study by Pew Research Center)

Read Article

Jobs of the Future

To identify and support industries within our region that create the occupations and well-paying jobs of tomorrow, LAEDC has developed industry councils, open to the public, that solicit feedback, set agendas, and take action to benefit the L.A. County regional economy.

Only by understanding a cluster’s economic value, regional strength, and regional asset (and gap) profile can we shape and direct sector-specific growth strategies. With this in mind, LAEDC’s economic development capacity-building focuses on the Los Angeles region’s prominent export-oriented industry clusters.

Los Angeles County has dozens of major industries, each with rich ecosystems of businesses, talent, suppliers, logistics networks, R&D and entrepreneurs.

LAEDC is currently focused on “export-oriented” industry clusters (industries that can sell goods and services outside our region) in which our region has competitive advantage and potential to create well-paying jobs.  Those industries include Aerospace, Advanced Transportation, Bioscience, Entertainment & Digital Media, and we support an even wider variety of businesses with the LAEDC Business Assistance Program, to help these businesses overcome challenges, grow and hire. Learn more about our industry cluster initiatives by emailing [email protected], or by visiting our INDUSTRIES main menu on this website.

Find out more about the L.A. region’s industries here.