L.A. showbiz jobs rebound

Region's overall jobless rate predicted to decline

Showbiz employment in Los Angeles County will see a mild uptick through the rest of this year and 2004, the UCLA Anderson Forecast has predicted.

“Motion pictures will add some of the recently lost jobs back as growth on the entertainment side of the business offset those losses from the advertising and technology portions of the industry,” said senior economist Christopher F. Thornberg.

Outlook was issued today as part of the quarterly UCLA forecast for the Los Angeles region. The region’s overall jobless rate is predicted to decline to 6.3% by the end of 2004 from the current 6.5%.

Report also noted that the region’s showbiz employment appears to have bottomed out at 112,500 at the end of April, with job losses slowing to 3,300 over the previous six months, compared with a loss of 10,700 during the period from April-October 2002.

Thornberg noted that production activity has returned to normal levels after plunging in the second half of 2001 and that employment of independent artists and writers has remained stable.

“The overall weak economy has made many of the industry’s profit centers, such as advertising, significantly less profitable,” he added. “Further, the industry made many forays into information technology during the Internet rush period that will likely never be profitable. Thus it is not surprising that the industry is currently reducing employment, particularly here in the business center of the industry.”

Thornberg also asserted that profit figures for many of the big studios have improved during the past fiscal year so employment in the industry has likely fallen to its lowest level.

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