The Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. is forecasting a solid improvement in Hollywood’s employment picture with an addition of 16,500 showbiz jobs this year and another 15,100 slots next year.
The mid-year forecast, released Wednesday, estimated that regional entertainment employment will hit 155,300 jobs this year — 137,400 people in the motion picture and sound industries and 17,900 in television and radio. Those numbers are forecast to reach 170,400 in 2011, with 152,400 in motion picture/sound and 18,000 in broadcast.
If the forecast pans out, the numbers would represent a turnaround from recent years. The number of regional showbiz jobs remained steady at 148,700 in 2007 and 149,400 in 2008, followed by a decline to 138,800 last year. The recent shifts in total showbiz jobs are relatively small compared with the four-year meltdown between 1999 and 2003, when runaway production led to jobs falling sharply.
The best two years prior to the current period were 2000, when entertainment employment totaled 158,900 workers, and 1999, when employment totaled 164,300 workers.
The forecast cited a trio of factors for the brightened outlook — the positive reception to the state’s film incentive program; more pilots ordered by broadcast and cable nets; and “strong” growth in the international box office.
Negative concerns cited include the rapid run-up in ticket prices for 3D films; underperformance by some major summer films; declining DVD sales; uncertainty over revenues from new digital platforms; and the upcoming round of master contract negotiations with SAG, AFTRA, DGA and WGA.
SAG and AFTRA are set to begin talks Sept. 27 on their feature-primetime contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers with the DGA following in mid-November. Those contracts expire on June 30, while the contract for the WGA — which hasn’t set a start date for talks — will expire May 1.
The report noted that SAG has more moderate leadership than during the last round of negotiations and noted that there may remain an impact from the 100-day WGA strike.
“Many members of the Writers Guild are still smarting from the fall-out of the 2007-08 strike,” the report noted.