California should expect continued job growth and reduced unemployment figures over the next three years, according to the UCLA Anderson Forecast released on Thursday.

The forecast calls for steady gains in employment from now through 2017 and estimates total employment will grow at a rate of 2.4 percent this year, 2.2 percent next year and 1.5 percent in 2017. Payrolls are also expected to grow at about the same rate over the next three years.

The state unemployment rate expected to hover around 6.5 percent through the end of the year and is expected to average approximately 5.5 percent next year and 5.1 percent in 2017, comparable with the rest of the country.

“The increase in U.S. growth rates from construction, automobiles and business investment, as well as higher consumer demand, will continue to fuel our local economy,” UCLA Senior Economist Jerry Nickelsburg, the author of the forecast, said in a statement.

According to the report, the entertainment industry in Los Angeles grew by 22 percent from 2001 to 2013 in terms of employee compensation compared to a 33 percent growth nationwide. Still, the report found, the region’s estimated economic output amounted to $55 billion in 2013,while overall employee compensation totaled $14.3 billion; New York was next, with $6.5 billion in overall employee compensation in the industry.

The report also projected that the recent slowdown at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach would have a relatively small economic impact. “California’s employment, even after adjusting for the impact of the slowdown/shutdown at the ports, should continue to grow faster than the U.S., though not by much, and the unemployment rate should continue to fall through the forecast period,” it said.

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