Somjita Mitra

Somjita Mitra

Los Angeles County is expected to add about 48,000 jobs this year and 34,000 next year, making for a modest growth rate of around 1 percent, according to a forecast to be released Feb. 21 by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

The forecast also calls for the county’s unemployment rate to edge down to an average 4.3 percent this year and 4.1 percent next year. Last year, the average rate was 4.6 percent, with a low of 4.4 percent reached in December.

Both the projected increases in payroll jobs and the declines in the unemployment rate are projected to be smaller than in recent years. Last year, the county added roughly 57,000 jobs; in 2016, the county added 109,000 jobs. And the unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent last year from 5.2 percent in 2016.

“Our unemployment rate is the lowest that it’s been for the last 17 years, which means that our labor marketing is tightening up,” LAEDC economist Somjita Mitra said in an email. “There’s simply fewer jobs that need to be filled.”

“We also expect wages to grow as a result of this tightening labor market,” Mitra added. The forecast calls for personal income to increase from $585 billion last year to $603 billion this year and $620 billion next year.

Likewise, the county’s gross domestic product, which grew 3.2 percent to $670 billion last year, is expected to grow 2.4 percent this year to $686 billion and 2.2 percent next year to $701 billion.

According to the forecast, the industry sectors expected to gain the most jobs this year and next are healthcare/social assistance (up a combined 24,660 jobs for the two years), followed by administrative/support (up 16,320 jobs) and construction (up 14,610 jobs). Only two sectors are expected to experience slight declines: manufacturing (down 1,400) and government (down 1,100).

Economy, education, energy and transportation reporter Howard Fine can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.

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