Over the next five years, L.A.'s unemployment rate is expected to fall, reaching 7% by the middle of 2016, says Beacon Economics.

LOS ANGELES-The leisure and hospitality industry in Los Angeles has emerged as one of the biggest drivers of local employment growth. So says Beacon Economics’ summer edition of the Regional Outlook Los Angeles.

The locally based firm recently delivered the latest numbers on jobs and home prices in the outlook, showing that in April, total nonfarm employment in Los Angeles County increased by 5,700 jobs over the previous month. Since April of last year, the County has added back 74,000 jobs, representing a 1.9% increase and on par with employment growth in the state overall.

Los Angeles may have been slower out of the gate, but the latest numbers indicate that the local economy is moving in the right direction and shows local employment growing at the same rate as the state overall, says the firm.

The leisure and hospitality sector’s strong employment gains over the last year (+15,600 jobs since April 2012) make up more than 20% of the County’s total nonfarm job gains during that time. With a recovering economy and rising incomes across the state, Los Angeles has benefitted from increased tourism and business travel, the firm says. According to Visit California, the state’s official tourism website, in April, hotel occupancy rates in the County stood at 77% on a seasonally adjusted basis, a new post-recession high. The average daily room rate in April also marked a new post-recession high of $138.65.  

Another major driver of industry growth in Los Angeles County, according to the report, has been the Administrative Support Services sector. While these jobs tend to be mainly lower-wage temporary positions with employment agencies, they have the potential to transition into higher-wage permanent positions.

Industries posting the largest losses over the last year include Government (-1.7%), Manufacturing (-4.3%), and Transportation and Warehousing (-2.3%). 

Given the employment numbers, Beacon Economics is confident that the employment recovery in Los Angeles County will continue. “Over the next two years expect nonfarm job growth in the 1.5% to 2% range. By the beginning of 2016 expect nonfarm employment levels to surpass the previous all time high and hit 4,030,000 positions.”

Over the next five years, Los Angeles’s unemployment rate is expected to fall, reaching 7% by the middle of 2016.

To read other articles on the subject, see the following. And be sure to check back for more from the Beacon Economics L.A. Outlook regarding home prices.

Construction Industry Leads CA’s Job Gains

California Labor Market Surges Ahead