Perhaps overdue but nonetheless welcome is a recent trend that has brought a significant increase in the quantity and quality of information on the local economy.

There’s been a relative paucity of the stuff for years if you think about it in terms of size and resources. Los Angeles County has long been a prime cut of the consumer market. Southern California more so.

This place is home to major industries – we’re big on entertainment, health care, hospitality and tourism – and the largest manufacturing center in the United States for good measure.

And there’s surely enough personnel or brain power to slice and dice and analyze all of the data that comes as a byproduct of the local economy – we have three major research universities and six state universities within the boundaries of L.A. County, not to mention the many highly-regarded private schools in our midst.

Any thoughts that past efforts have been underwhelming should now begin to yield to a new view because various entities have recently taken it upon themselves to present more data about L.A. and Southern California’s economic pictures and to do so with refined approaches.

A few examples that represent new approaches can be drawn from coverage in our news pages over the past year or so. A week ago, we presented the quarterly consumer sentiment survey from the Lowe Institute of Political Economy at Claremont McKenna College, which launched the report last year as the only gauge of consumer confidence that covers L.A. County specifically.

The Business Journal in recent weeks also has reported on data gathered and analyzed by a nonprofit called New American Economy, which drilled down for an interesting picture of the effects immigrants have on Long Beach’s economy.

The federal government has chipped in on the trend lately, refining its reporting territories for key categories of economic data – the inflation rate, for example – to Los Angeles and Orange counties. That’s a tighter focus than prior reports that also included Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Westchester-based Beacon Economics also got into the act, along with the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, which commissioned the consultancy to conduct a study that used new technologies to take research into the business landscape of an individual Los Angeles City Council district to a more granular level.

The Business Journal is pleased to take the lead in presenting reporting and analysis that make use of new sources of, and perspectives on, the community of business here. We expect more to come and commit ourselves to keeping up with the rapid pace of change when it comes to the flow of information and how it can inform our readers.

Please consider our efforts and let us know your thoughts. How are you using the vast and growing yield of the Information Age in your business these days? How can we capture, consider and present pertinent information to help you stay on top of trends?

Feel free to turn to page 41, note the masthead that lists contact information for our staff, and share your perspective.

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