Holiday Greetings and a Focus on Jobs in 2011
Last Friday's release of the November unemployment report for Los Angeles County showed a jump from 12.6 percent to 12.9 percent -- a grim reminder that every government, business and civic leader in Los Angeles County should have job creation as the primary focus for 2011. Unlike past recessions, in which California led the nation in a speedy rebound, it is clear that if we simply wait for the rising tide of the rest of the world to lift California, it will not be enough to put our citizens back to work.
I see some positive signs on the horizon for California and Los Angeles, but what I don't see is a sense of urgency among elected officials to create an environment that will sustain existing jobs and encourage and attract new jobs. When elected officials talk about creating new jobs, they often add the precursor of "green" jobs or "union" jobs and in so doing send a message to the other 85 percent of the private sector that their jobs are not as desirable or important to fight for. We need "jobs" in Los Angeles County and California and until we make jobs a priority, we will continue to lag behind the rest of the United States in recovering from this great recession.
A positive sign last week was the compromise made by the California Air Resources Board relative to future standards for trucks and off-road construction equipment. CARB sited its sensitivity to the potential impact on transportation and construction jobs as they unveiled the compromise. Neither environmentalists nor the truckers and construction industry got everything they wanted, but the impact on jobs was a factor in the decision making.
Another positive sign is the straight talk we are hearing from Governor-elect Brown about the health of the economy and its impact on the state budget. Everyone who receives a paycheck from state or local government should be leading the parade in support of private sector job creation that will create new revenue for state and local coffers.
And finally, it is good news that a professional with 35 of management experience in the utility industry has been nominated as the new general manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. It is our hope that Ron Nichols from Seattle will bring the same type of decisive and inclusive leadership to the nation's largest municipally owned utility that Gina Marie Lindsay, who once ran the Seattle airport, has brought to Los Angeles World Airports.
All of us on the staff of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce want to thank our 1,600 members and their 650,000 employees for the economic contribution you make to our city, county and region. We also thank you for your leadership and financial contributions to hundreds of non-profit and social service organizations who help thousands of people during this holiday season and throughout the year.
We wish you all a wonderful holiday season and an exciting and prosperous new year.
And that's The Business Perspective for year-end 2010.
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