Welcome to my new blog about jobs in Los Angeles. One of the major missions of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce is to create a strong economy – and for years we have trekked to Sacramento, testified at hundreds of City Hall hearings, worked to attract and retain companies in Hollywood, and organized events to promote this community. If you boiled it all down to one word – it is “jobs” that we are seeking.
I came to the Hollywood Chamber in 1992, shortly after the civil unrest that shocked our region. One of the first events I attended here was the reopening of Hollywood’s Sears Store on Santa Monica Blvd., that had been severely damaged during the rioting. It is interesting to note that Sears had reached out and hired gang members to help make repairs. After I was introduced at the celebration, several of them came up to me with an appeal, which I recall very clearly. They said, “Mr. Chamber of Commerce President, all we want are jobs.”
When you think of it, there is nothing that could help more to resolve civil problems than providing people with a livelihood, where they can hold their heads high, earn a living, and feel that they are making a contribution.
And so it was alarming earlier this year to learn that the City of Los Angeles has one of the worst records in job creation in the nation. Since 1990, Los Angeles has lost 3.1 percent of its employment base. That is worse than Cleveland (-0.2%) and Detroit (-2.8%). It is hard to believe that we have fewer jobs in this city today than we had 25 years ago, but that is exactly the case. By comparison, job growth over the same period exceeded 50 percent in Phoenix, Orlando, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.
Now it should be noted that these figures are for the City of Los Angeles. Job growth is occurring in Southern California – just not in our City. You would think that this report, which was issued by the UCLA Anderson School of Management, would have jolted the City into action. But that has not been the case.
It seems that we are hit weekly with decisions that are made at the local or state levels that impact the creation or retention of jobs. I will offer you my assessment on whether these decisions will help us on the job front or if they will lead to a loss of jobs. When our public officials make good decisions, I will certainly recognize and commend them. Likewise, I will point out how potential decisions may have consequences on the jobs front and why our representatives should consider that possibility when they vote.
I also welcome your feedback, suggestions and input about how potential decisions might impact your ability to do business, because when it comes to creating a strong economy in Los Angeles, it is all about jobs!
Leron Gubler has been serving as the President and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce for the past 22 years. His tenure since 1992 continues to oversee the great comeback of Hollywood. Gubler is also the face of the Chamber at the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremonies, promoting both the Chamber and Hollywood to the world.