Category Archives: News

Employment in LA, Pandemically Speaking

Los Angeles – like the rest of the country and indeed the world – has experienced huge loss in employment since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020.  One estimate puts the number for LA County at 1-in 8 workers with unemployment numbers, tripling from their regular count.

What is of note is where the jobs were lost.  Not surprisingly, is that the tourist and leisure industries have been most hard hit with a 33% loss compared to pre-pandemic numbers in entertainment, food, retail and tourism.  Overall, the pandemic peak of LA’s unemployment rate was 18.8% as compared with 10.9% pre-pandemic. It doesn’t seem so bad. Except when you look at the numbers for February 2020 (when employment figures were going up nicely), you see a mere 4.7% of unemployed and then when you compare that to the current numbers it is an increase in just one year of 232%.

So where is the good news in all this? Well, the successful vaccine rollout has resulted in LA County having moved to an orange tier and more re-openings are happening. This means that restaurants, bars, wineries, gyms, fitness parks, outdoor live events etc. can all begin re-opening which will of course hopefully result in a direct jump in re-employment numbers.

LA County Supervisor Hilda Solis seems to indicate there is room for optimism:

“After a year of fear, anxiety and tragic loss, we’re seeing glimmers of hope once more, but this didn’t happen just by accident — this was because of our collective hard work. So, while we push to get as many people as possible fully vaccinated and have the finish line of this pandemic in sight, let’s make sure that we finish strong. Let’s enjoy our hard-earned opportunities in the orange tier responsibly. Let’s continue to wear our masks, stay physically distant and avoid large indoor gatherings, if possible.”

Recent Board Appointments

Even though hiring has for sure slowed in the last few months during the coronavirus crisis, there are still some places that are surging ahead in their business dealings.  Here we take a look at a few of the local ones in the hope of feeling optimistic about the region’s economic future.

The City of Los Angeles’ official tourist marketing organization – the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board – just appointed interim CEO and president Adam Burke to the full position.  He has been with the firm for the last four years when he joined in the capacity of COO.  Earlier this year, following the retirement of Ernest Wooden Jr. from the leadership positions, Burke took over in an interim capacity.  Of this appointment he said:

“I am incredibly grateful to our board of directors for the privilege of serving Los Angeles Tourism in this new capacity. Ernie Wooden built a world-class team during his tenure, and I look forward to continuing to work alongside our innovative team of destination experts as we navigate these truly unique circumstances. Tourism is an absolutely vital part of the Los Angeles economy, and our collective priority is to safely welcome visitors while responsibly getting Angelenos across our leisure and hospitality community back to work.”

Two new appointments to the Senior Advisory Board were also recently made at international healthcare investment firm, HealthCare Royalty Partners. On the appointments, HCR’s Managing Partner and Chairman, Clarke B. Futch said:

“We are pleased to welcome Bill [William M. Burns] and Mardi [C. Dier] to our Senior Advisor Board. Both are accomplished and seasoned leaders in the biopharmaceutical industry which will benefit HCR in sourcing and evaluating potential products of interest, particularly in Europe and on the West Coast.”

There are also vacancies available locally for those who do not have executive leanings.  One example is the region’s newest football stadium which is looking for thousands of new employees.  According to SoFi Stadium‘s Managing Director Jason Gannon the venue – which came at a price tag of $5 billion – is nearly finished and once that happens they will be seeking out around 3,000 part- and full-time employees.  Gannon explained:

“We’re just a few days away from getting our occupancy permit. For event-day personnel, we’re looking to hire about 3,000 people, and several hundred non-event day positions… In Inglewood we’ve had over $92 million worth of contracts on the project to date (that went) to local Inglewood residents.”

Preservation of Local Lands

The Central Coast Heritage Protect Act was recently passed with bipartisan support.  Part of the Protecting America’s Wilderness Act.  Thanks to the valiant efforts of environmental advocates, Representative Salud Carbajal and local officials there is work being undertaken to preserve and protect our land. 

The goal of the law is particularly important for Los Angeles.  It is hoping to protect increasing amounts of land – up to 250,000 acres – as protected wilderness areas within the Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument

According to Rep Carbajal:

“Protecting our environment, enhancing public safety and growing our economy are not mutually exclusive. The passage of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act proves this, and it’s a huge step forward for all of us. Our Central Coast is the most beautiful district in the nation and this bill ensures our public lands, like Los Padres National Forest and Carrizo Plain National Monument, will be preserved—for our economy, for our environment and for future generations.”

In addition, Graciela Cabello, Director of Youth and Community Engagement at ForestWatch said:

“Protecting lands on the California Central Coast is a critical step to ensuring our children and future generations have access to wild places and to protecting fragile ecosystems. These lands are some of the most biodiverse ecoregions in the world and we want to see them protected.”

To date the bill has been supported by around 500 local organizations, businesses and landholders.

Local Award Winners

Residents in Los Angeles often get recognized for their talents, hard work and dedication to their professions.  In this article we report on some of the more recent awards and recognitions that have been offered to locals.  With this recognition can often come a boost to the local economy.

The Los Angeles Business Journal recently announced the selection of Albert Valencia and Pooja S. Nair as the region’s Top Minority Attorneys. They have been recognized for being “particularly impactful [while successfully] maintain[ing] the highest professional and ethical standards.”

California’s economy has definitely benefited from movie-makers choosing to shoot their films in the region.  One such example has been the recognition by the Los Angeles City Council of the Oscar-nominated motion picture produced locally.  This includes: Marriage Story (which has received six Oscar nominations); Ford v Ferrari (4 Oscar nominations) and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (10 Oscar nominations).

Other notable local recognitions include 11 area squad players from the Crescenta Valley High, St. Francis and Flintridge Prep schools.  they received All-CIF accolades split up as follows:  Crescenta Valley High – 7 players; Flintridge Prep – 3 players and St. Francis – 1 player.  , plenty of players got the job done in helping their squads register winning campaigns.

AIP in Hollywood

The Annual Architecture in Perspective (AIP) Conference this year took place in Hollywood.  Hosted by the American Society of Architectural Illustrators (ASAI), the three day event that was held on October 3 to October 5 featured VR, cinematography, gaming and more.

It was a wonderful opportunity for anyone – professional, students, lay people – to engage in discussions, workshops, networking and more in architectural, artistic and related industries. 

The speaker lineup – which included Luxigon founder Eric de Broche des Combes, TLCD Architecture architect Melissa Weese, ASAI President Emeritus Barbara Ratner, Concept Artist and Matte Painter from ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ Nick Hiatt, among others.

“This was truly an amazing event,” tourist Moshe Victor Keinig relates.  “I spend a lot of time in America now that I am retired and now that I have started sketching and taking pictures, it was so good to be rubbing shoulders with some of the most notable people in the industry.”

Centrally located in the glitzy Hollywood at the Kimpton Everly Hotel, the event was put together by ASAI President Keely Colcleugh.  Now in its 34th year, subjects covered included an urban sketch & photography tour, which was of particular interest to individuals such as Keinig. Having the opportunity to explore and sketch historic landmarks around the region was a very enjoyable way to spend the day and get in the sites.

2019 LA CFA Society Portfolio Conference

In this video – produced by Oaktree Capital – CEO of the global alternative investment management firm, Jay Wintrob engages in a “fireside chat” with Jane Wells, Special Correspondent at CNBC.  Discussions took place in conjunction with this year’s Portfolio conference of the LA CFA Society, that is each year aimed at LA’s investment community and the industry at large.

3L Capital Investments

Last month an announcement was made by 3L Capital (an equity investment company) concerning the $217 million equity fund it had raised in order to continue its investments into local firms seeking growth. The firm – based in Westwood – will be putting the monies raised toward companies looking for a Series B/later investments.

Investments in the past have been made in Wheels Lab Inc. – an e-bike operator in West Holywood; The Young Turks, a Carthay LA neighborhood online talkshow and Culver City retailer SnackNation.

3L was founded roughly two years ago by Shawn Colo, former chief executive for Demand Media; Kerry Kellogg; and Dave Leyrer, founder of Boulevard Capital Management. Its previous investments include West Hollywood-based e-bike operator Wheels Labs Inc.; Carthay-based online talk show The Young Turks; and SnackNation, a Culver City-based snack retailer.

Leading US Tech Hubs have LA Addresses

Employment opportunities are growing in the west coast more than any other part of the nation in the science, tech, engineering and math (STEM) industries. According to statistics from CBRE there was a 8.2 percent increase in this industry in LA – fastest of any US metropolitan area.

Furthermore, in the 2018 fiscal year, Los Angeles County received nearly $1.1 billion in funding from the National Institutes of Health.  This is the largest amount of all California counties. As such, growth in the number of employment opportunities in laboratory services and research industry has reached 11 percent.  90,000 people have gotten jobs in the sector in 2018.

There are also many tech companies that offer amazing employee benefits in the LA region as detailed in this recent article.

Los Angeles Cyclists

Bicycle path

Over $40 million in state funding has been earmarked for the creation of new bicycle and pedestrian groundwork.  The work will be carried in both South LA and the San Fernando Valley. $18.8 million of the funding will create three miles of paths for cyclists and walkers alongside the LA River, beginning at Reseda’s Vanalden Avenue to Burbank Boulevard.

According to Bob Blumenfield, a member of the LA council, these grants will go a long way toward transforming the river into: “an amazing linear park that all Angelenos can enjoy.” The ultimate goal is to create a biking path along all 51 miles of the river, stretching from Canoga Park to Long Beach.   Another council member, Marqueece Harris-Dawson referred to it as the: “largest known public investment in this neighborhood in generations.”

The other goal– known as Twenty-Eight By `28 Project – is the completion of 28 major transportation enterprises before the Olympics of 2028 to be held in LA.  Alongside the pedestrian/cycling paths, wheelchair/stroller access will improve with new ADA access ramps; urban shade will be added along the corridor and more.  As Harris Dawson explained:

“We are glad to see South Los Angeles getting the investment it deserves. This may be the largest known public investment in this neighborhood in generations. We are committed to making up for lost time. The project will transform this community into a safe and vibrant part of Los Angeles, while also improving mobility, creating a cleaner environment, and increasing access to transportation and jobs.”

Some Business Success Stories

Los Angeles has often gotten a reputation for being a difficult place to start a business.  Given that it was ranked among the 10 least affordable metro areas, rendering an increase in business costs, one could understand why they may be put off from starting a company in the region.   As such, in this article we point to a couple of recent good news stories for the business world in LA.

On its very first day trading on Wall Street, Beyond Meat (BYND)’s investors sent shares up to 163%.  With shares going opening at $46 and closing on May 2 at $65.75, this was a huge success for the vegetarian based food producer.  This resulted in a market value for the firm of $3.8b.

Over at investment management firm Aristotle, the firm’s Managing Director and Chief Innovation Officer Robert R. Womack Jr. was just named 2019’s Corporate CIO of the Year by the Los Angeles Business Journal.  He received this award for his “ tremendous accomplishments over the past few years, which included creating and leading Aristotle’s Business Solutions team during a period of rapid growth, executing a multi-year transformative initiative firmwide, and building Aristotle’s best-in-class technology platform to meet the needs of the company, its affiliates, and most importantly, Aristotle’s valued clients.”

And then there is Proper Hospitality co-founder and The Kor Group President Brian De Lowe who does not seem to be put off by doing business in California.  Later this year he is due to open two luxury hotels: one offering 270 rooms (and an 8,000 sq.ft rooftop) and the other with 148 rooms (and a 5,000 sq.ft rooftop), both in Santa Monica.