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Biz: L.A.’s $47 bil engine

Hollywood generates 8.4% of the county's total output

Despite runaway production, Hollywood still generated $47 billion in economic output in Los Angeles County in 2011 — or 8.4% of the county’s total output.

That’s one of the key findings in a report issued Friday by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. for the Hollwyood Chamber of Commerce as part of the chamber’s Entertainment Summit event.

The forecast estimated that Los Angeles employment for the motion picture and sound recording businesses hit 122,000 jobs last year for a slight gain — still about 8,000 slots short of the level in 2008 but a significant recovery from 2009, when the recession drove the number down to 117,400.

The report also found that the industry employed nearly 162,000 workers last year, or almost 5% of the private sector employees in Los Angeles County, along with 85,000 freelancers and independent contractors.

The new study also found that the average rate of annual pay amounted to $117,000, more than double the $53,000 average in all private sectors.

The motion picture sector generated an average of $96,300 among its 117,000 workers while the category of agents, managers and independent artists generated an impressive average of $261,200 for 17,431 employees. The radio and TV sector generated an average of $113,000 for 18,503 workers while live entertainment’s average was $127,000. Sound production’s average salary was $103,000 among the 440 workers.

“The industry does not just provide jobs; it is a key component in the Los Angeles County economic engine,” the report said. “With most of the industry’s ‘sales’ taking place outside the county — even outside the United States — the industry makes a significant contribution to the local economy as proceeds from sales of movie tickets, videos and other programming come back to the county.”

The ripple effect from indirect jobs such as catering and florists is directly or indirectly responsible for nearly 586,000 jobs in the county, the report added.

The report also made a strong pitch for improving California’s tax credit program, which was extended for two years in September at an annual rate of $100 million with a maximum of 25% of the production budget — far lower than other government incentives.

“California is currently at a competitive disadvantage because other states fhave madea concerted effort to create an attractive environment for film and television production,” the report noted.

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