November 6, 2000 Vol. V, No. 6

Entertainment Leads SFV Economy, CSUN Researchers Say

Annual University Report Concludes Entertainment Accounts for 18% of Valley Private Jobs and 26% of Private Payroll

Los Angeles may have the famous Hollywood sign. But the San Fernando Valley has its own major entertainment industry, according to a new report by economists at Cal State Northridge.

Entertainment industry jobs are by far the largest single sector of private employment in the San Fernando Valley. The sector grew by about 10 percent during 1999, more than double the 3.8 percent growth rate of the Valley's broader job market, according to the university's 2000-2001 Report of Findings on the San Fernando Valley Economy.

"Like the nation and the state, the Valley has seen growth in its service industry, including the entertainment field. Entertainment is the largest single job sector we can identify in the Valley. We're talking about entertainment being nearly 20 percent of the private sector jobs. That's a big impact," said CSUN economics professor Shirley Svorny, who authored the report.

In fact, the new 71-page report from CSUN's San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center, which Svorny directs, found the entertainment industry during 1999 accounted for 18 percent or nearly 118,000 of the private sector jobs in the Valley, and for a 26 percent share or $6.6 billion of annual payroll in the region.

The entertainment industry dominated a total private sector Valley job market that included 657,307 jobs and $25.3 billion in annual payroll, the report found, based on state Employment Development Department job data. Total Valley private employment rose 3.8 percent between 1998 and 1999, while payrolls grew by 7 percent.

The largest employment segment within the Valley's entertainment industry was motion picture-related, accounting for 98,663 jobs and more than $5.5 billion in annual payroll. The next largest individual segments in the broader economy were business services (60,449 jobs and $1.8 billion payroll) and health services (54,517 jobs and $1.96 billion payroll).

Svorny and CSUN economics professor Dan Blake presented report highlights during the 12th annual Valley Industry and Commerce Association Business Forecast Conference in Woodland Hills. Svorny, who has directed the center for the past four years, will hand over the leadership of the research unit to Blake in January.

More broadly, the CSUN report details the latest economic and demographic trends in the San Fernando Valley, a region that covers 289 square miles with an estimated population of 1.65 million as of January 2000. The estimate represents an increase of 1.3 percent over the prior year.

The latest report on the San Fernando Valley economy is the third annual one by Cal State Northridge, the only public university located in the Valley. Because the Valley is a geographic area with no formal jurisdictional boundaries, CSUN faculty members and students each year have to combine different pieces of data to assemble a comprehensive look at the region.

As identified by CSUN, the Valley includes all or part of six cities: Burbank, Calabasas, Glendale, Hidden Hills, Los Angeles and San Fernando, along with the community of Universal City, which has no resident population. The Valley's Los Angeles City terrain accounts for 47 percent of the city's land area and 34 percent of the city's population.

Overall, the CSUN report paints a picture of a healthy Valley economy that has fully recovered from the national recession of the early 1990s. Employment is up, commercial vacancy rates remain low, apartment vacancies are few and housing prices have risen for three consecutive years, CSUN researchers found.

"The Valley economy has fully recovered. We're into the normal ranges on all the different variables. So we're back," said professor Blake. Looking to the years ahead, Blake said the Valley's economy can be expected to mirror very sustainable national and California growth rates, typically estimated at between 2 34 and 4 percent per year.

The following are some of the other Valley topics covered in the CSUN report:

Ethnicity: Contrary to perceptions, white residents no longer are a majority in the Valley, having fallen to 48 percent of the population, based on 1998 estimates. Among the Valley's population, 39 percent is Hispanic, 9 percent is Asian and 3 percent is black. In a glimpse of the future, 65 percent of the Los Angeles Unified School District enrollment within the Valley is identified as Hispanic as of 1999-2000.

Poverty: Between 1990 and 1998, the Valley's population grew by 9.5 percent, slightly more than Los Angeles County's 9.4 percent increase. However, amid the expanding economy, poverty also rose in the Valley. During that same period, the share of Valley residents with incomes below federal poverty guidelines grew from 11 percent to nearly 18 percent.

Traffic: Caltrans data shows the largest increases in peak-hour freeway traffic in the Valley between 1992 and 1998 occurred near Porter Ranch on the 118 freeway west of the 405 (22.9 percent), the 101 freeway east of the 405 in Studio City (22.2 percent), and in Sherman Oaks on the 101 at the 405 (18.5 percent).

Vacancy Rates: The industrial vacancy rate in the Valley (excluding Calabasas) dipped to a low 4 percent by mid-2000. Office vacancy rates across the Valley have been averaging about 10 percent. Meanwhile, apartment vacancy rates in the Los Angeles City portion of the Valley have dropped dramatically in recent years, falling to a very tight 3 percent rate by March 2000.

Housing Construction: New residential housing construction permit values in the Valley (excluding Hidden Hills) rocketed to $525 million in fiscal 1999-2000, up 91 percent from the year before. The latest valuation amount is more than double the $259 million figure recorded for the Valley during fiscal 1994-95.

Growth Areas: Valley population increases have varied widely by area between 1990 and 2000, based on state estimates. The Valley's total population increased 8.3 percent during the decade. But the Los Angeles portion of the Valley's population increased just 6.1 percent, compared to other areas such as Hidden Hills (15.7 percent), Burbank (12.1 percent) and Glendale (11.6 percent).

Aviation: Van Nuys Airport data suggests aircraft operations there (take-offs, landings and flyovers) have increased markedly in the past 15 years. Operations climbed from less than 500,000 in 1985 to more than 600,000 last year, a 23 percent increase. During that period, the airport's number of single-engine piston planes dropped 42 percent, while the number of jets and turboprops tripled.



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