California is outpacing the nation in economic growth, but its momentum has slowed, according to a report released Tuesday.
The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.’s Economic Forecast & Industry Outlookshows that California’s economy grew at a rate of 2.5 percent last year, slightly beating the nation’s annual growth of 2.4 percent. That number fell short of the 3.3 percent year-over-year growth the Golden State saw in 2016 and the 4 percent growth that occurred the previous two years.
A big part of the U.S. economy
Still, California accounts for 14.1 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, the total value of U.S. goods and services produced in a given year. That’s far more than any other state, and California’s GDP is expected to expand by 2.7 percent in 2018 and 2.6 percent in 2019 — again outpacing the nation.
The forecast also shows that California’s unemployment rate averaged 4.8 percent last year, the lowest level since 2000. That’s expected to drop to 4.2 percent in 2019.The state will add 324,700 new jobs this year and 311,800 in 2019, according to the report, with the biggest bumps coming in administrative and support services (137,400 jobs) and health care and social assistance (100,300 jobs).
L.A. County by the numbers
More locally, Los Angeles County’s economy grew by 3.2 percent in 2017. That was up from 2.1 percent the previous year, although it fell short of the nation’s annual growth rate of 2.4 percent. The county’s GDP is predicted to grow by 2.4 percent in 2018 and 2.2 percent in 2019, outpacing the nation both years.
The county added 56,900 wage and salary jobs in 2017, bringing the region’s total to more than 4.4 million jobs — an increase of 1.3 percent over 2016. Nearly all of the county’s industries added jobs last year except for four: Manufacturing shrank for the fourth year with a loss of 4,600 jobs; retail trade lost 1,300; finance and insurance shed 200; and employment in the oil and gas industry fell by 100 jobs.
As the rate of job creation slows, L.A. County is expected to add 47,800 jobs this year and 34,300 in 2019. The county’s average unemployment rate also hit its lowest level since 2000 last year, falling to 4.6 percent. The forecast predicts that will fall to 4.1 percent next year.
Construction gaining momentum
L.A. County’s construction industry is projected to grow by 3.7 percent this year and 6.4 percent next year as businesses invest in new buildings and public infrastructure projects.
Bianca Vobecky, founder and president of Glendora-based Vobecky Enterprises, can attest to that trend. Her construction and logistics company is hopping these days.
“When we need trade subcontractors everyone is busy, and it takes longer to get them,” she said. “Everyone is building now.”
“We’re doing some energy-efficient work and some construction work,” she said. “Our trucking division is also busy. We make deliveries for Southern California Gas Co. on a daily basis.”
El Monte-based YK America is keeping busy as well. The real estate development firm is planning to build a 170-room Hyatt Place Hotel in Pomona and a Hyatt House Hotel next door with 110 apartment-style rooms with kitchenettes. YK America is also planning a six-story Marriott hotel next to the Santa Anita Park racetrack in Arcadia.
The report also highlights an uptick in the number of permits issued for new home construction in L.A. County. That number rose by 8.9 percent last year to 22,010 units permitted. The figures show a definite shift in the mix of permitted homes, however. Between 2000 and 2005 single-family homes accounted for about 46 percent of total new home construction. But that share has steadily declined, falling last year to just 25 percent.