It's economic outlook time and the job prospects in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley, Westside, South Bay and Long Beach are all expected to match or exceed the countywide job growth average next year.

Downtown and the southeast portion of the county both have been hit hard by losses in manufacturing and government jobs and will not do as well.

These local economic forecasts primarily look at nonfarm payroll jobs, the traditional yardstick for measuring job growth. They do not consider total civilian employment, which is at record highs in Los Angeles County.

The most robust job growth is taking place on the Westside and in the South Bay, each with growth rates of at least 2 percent, twice the countywide average.

Growth on the Westside is being fueled by a surge in business and professional service jobs, a rebound in tourism and expanding information/entertainment industry employment, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

The South Bay's growth has been sparked by an upturn in manufacturing as new defense orders pick up. "Groups of firms in the aerospace and defense sectors are hiring now because of past (defense) budget boosts," said Joseph Maggadino, chairman of the economics department at California State University Long Beach.

Next door in Long Beach, new waterfront development has sparked a jump in retail and tourism-related employment, while the booming Port of Long Beach has kept trade employment growing.

The San Fernando Valley has benefited from growth in the entertainment industry, especially in television production, according to Daniel Blake, professor of economics at California State University Northridge.

The San Gabriel Valley has seen growth in education, health care, professional and business services and retail, offset by losses in manufacturing. LAEDC Chief economist Jack Kyser said he expects the same trends to continue in 2006.

Kyser said sharp declines in apparel manufacturing have led to an employment slide in the "Gateway Cities" corridor, located in southeast L.A. County. The jobs picture downtown is expected to remain virtually flat in 2005 and 2006 as growth in professional and business services has been offset by a steady deterioration in government jobs.

*This story will be available in the Nov. 28 edition of the Business Journal .

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