Employment rises 8.7% in February
The end of the 100-day writers strike pushed up employment by as many as 9,000 jobs last month, according to state employment figures.California’s Employment Development Dept. announced Friday that employment in the motion picture and sound recording sector rose 8.7% in February to 114,300. The WGA strike, which brought production activity in scripted TV to a standstill, ended on Feb. 12. The state noted that jobs in the information sector rose by 9,000 to 194,800, with most of the gain due to employees returning from the strike. The gain helped the Los Angeles County unemployment rate drop from 5.7% in January to 5.3% in February. Separately, permitting agency FilmL.A. has said post-strike permitted production is tracking well below 2007 levels for the same period, including 97% fewer days on location for sitcoms, a loss of 31 days of production; a 9% decline in drama production for a 12-day loss; and an 86% decline in television pilots with 56 fewer days. “Even though the strike ended in February, we’re still feeling its impact well into pilot season,” said FilmL.A. prexy Steve MacDonald. “Finalizing scripts, pulling permits and getting crews back to work on location just takes time.” The California figures also show that year-over-year employment in the film production category — which includes TV — has dropped by 11%.