Largest private employers

Executive Summary

After two years as the largest private-sector employer in Los Angeles County, Boeing Co. drops to No. 2, behind Kaiser Permanente. Last year, Boeing began phasing out production of three of its jetliner lines due to reduced market demand, resulting in the loss of more than 4,500 local jobs.

Aerospace is still the dominant industry on the list, with five of top 25 L.A.-area employers falling into that category. The next-largest category is consumer goods and services, with four companies. Beyond that, the top employers are scattered throughout various industries three utility companies, two health care organizations and two entertainment companies among them.

Unemployment in Los Angeles has been on a downward trend since 1997, with the current unemployment rate at 5.4 percent. Last year, L.A. County added 61,800 jobs, and this year the county is on track to add another 86,400.

The Pacesetter

Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente makes its first appearance at the top of the list of Los Angeles County's largest employers. Its 42 medical facilities and one operations office in L.A. County provide 26,000 local jobs.

In the face of rising costs and serious losses, Kaiser last year instituted significant price increases for its business customers. "These increased prices had to do with making sure we wouldn't lose more money, ensuring that we would be bringing in enough revenue to pay for future medical care," said Jim Anderson, spokesman for Kaiser.

Kaiser is in the second year of a three-year program designed to address its financial problems, and according to Anderson, the program is on target to reach its goals. As for future price increases: "Health care continues to be expensive, drug costs continue to rise as well as new technology, and we are doing our best to make sure that health care is affordable to as many people as we can serve. We can't speculate beyond that," Anderson said.

Despite the price increases, Kaiser's membership rolls have continued to swell. In Southern California alone, Kaiser enrollment grew by 100,000 members last year, half of those in Los Angeles.

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