Most California school employees in classified positions such as teacher assistants, childcare workers, janitors, and office clerks struggle to support their families with incomes that are often inadequate to pay for food, housing and health care. The median annual earnings of classified workers in 2012 was only $20,700, well below self-sufficiency standards.
A raise to $15.25 by 2019 is an investment in Los Angeles. Dollars earned by minimum wage workers will be spent locally, thereby growing our city.
Raising L.A.'s minimum wage to $15.25 per hour will put $5.9 billion new dollars into the pockets of workers and families, and provide stimulus benefits for under-invested communities. Paying fair wages is an adjustment for some businesses, but the result is a bigger, more sustainable, and more inclusive economy for Los Angeles.
Economic Roundtable mapped the locations of street vendors and brick and mortar retail and restaurants in Los Angeles. What we found was surprising.
We at Economic Roundtable are excited to launch our new blog, Seeds of Change, alongside our redesigned website. The title is a reference to the tree of knowledge in our logo, symbolized in Los Angeles by the Wisdom Tree atop Cahuenga Peak. The lone pine tree sits on its perch overlooking the city from its vantage point close to the Hollywood sign.
Recent rains in Southern California are a welcome change amid the ongoing drought affecting the region. Each week sees a little more rainfall, sometimes in brief torrents that wake you at night, and others in slow, steady drizzle that last all day. A challenge for the state — and for water-guzzling Los Angeles in particular — is to capture and store that water today for use during the dry days, weeks and months ahead.
Construction is a $152 billion industry in California, employing 895,000 workers. One out of six construction workers in the Golden State, that is 143,900, sank into the informal economy in 2011. Informal construction workers earn about half of what their formal counterparts bring home and their households are three times more likely to live in poverty.
A $15.37 minimum wage for Los Angeles hotels with 100 or more rooms would affect over 5,000 low-wage hotel workers, including housekeepers, janitors, banquet servers, bellhops and desk clerks. The twenty year trend for hotel growth and rising hotel occupancy and revenue support the finding that the proposed new minimum wage is feasible for the hotel industry in Los Angeles.
America has lost ground on the intent declared by Congress when the Fair Labor Standards Act was enacted in 1938, that workers will receive wages sufficient to maintain "the minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency, and general well-being." The federal minimum wage had the greatest value in 1968. Set at $1.60 an hour, it had a value of $10.51 in 2012 dollars. The current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth 31 percent less. This wage attrition is part of most people's everyday experience. Three-quarters of the full-time labor force residing in the City of Los Angeles earn less than comparable workers 30 years ago.
The 25¢ coin that was minted in 2005 to commemorate California shows John Muir admiring the granite walls of Yosemite. Mariposa County is home to Yosemite, one of the most beloved places in California. This study explores the economic well-being of county residents and strategies for providing sustaining jobs for the resident labor force.
New development solves housing problems for some workers by creating new jobs that pay sustaining wages. At the same time, it creates additional demand for affordable housing because some of the workers who will be employed will not earn enough money to afford market-rate rental housing. This report analyzes a possible affordable housing benefit fee for new development in Los Angeles. If approved, this fee would recover a portion of the public cost for meeting the demand for affordable housing that results from new development.
Many runway jobs of baggage and cargo handlers and cabin cleaners at Los Angeles International Airport have been outsourced to labor contractors, resulting in reduced wages and benefits for workers. For a small, incremental cost passed along to passengers, meaningful improvement can be made in the standard of living and health benefits of LAX airside workers, which will spark significant sales and tax multiplier effects for the Los Angeles region.
Unemployment and underemployment currently represent $25.8 billion in annual wages not earned in Los Angeles County, $28.2 billion in lost private sector economic activity and $4 billion in tax revenue not generated. Over a fifth of Los Angeles County’s labor force is unemployed or underemployed. Over a third of the county’s population lives in a household where one or more breadwinners are under-employed.
At the peak of California’s most recent drought in 2009, the Los Angeles economy was in severe recession, with unemployment above 12 percent. These twin crises identified a policy opportunity to tackle both challenges together. Public investments in water use efficiency provide economic and job benefits alongside the environmental benefits from using less water.
Severe overcrowding in Los Angeles rental housing fell 63 percent from 2000 to 2007, the most recent year for which data is available. Only 9 percent of renters are severely overcrowded, with 1.5 or more occupants per room. The bad news is that 58 percent of renters are rent-burdened, paying 30 percent or more of their income for rent.
The most concrete characteristic of a recession is that demand disappears for some of the commodities produced by workers and unwanted unemployment is imposed on a large segment of the labor force. With growing job losses in the current recession it is important to know, whose boat falls when the economic tide recedes?
A budget for providing basic family necessities in Los Angeles calls for an annual income of $49,135 for one parent with two children and $54,078 for two parents with two children. The income for providing basic family necessities is about two and a half times greater than the poverty threshold.
Most people agree that union jobs typically pay better than nonunion jobs. But what is not as widely discussed is the role unions play in stimulating the broader economy. A recent study by my organization, the Economic Roundtable, found that union workers in Los Angeles County earn an average of 27 percent more than nonunion workers in the same job, a figure that does not include differences in other types of compensation like health insurance.
Union members make up roughly 15 percent of LA’s labor force. The economic context for unions in Los Angeles is a formal labor market that has been stagnant since 1990, with all net job growth occurring in the informal economy. More than a quarter of the labor force is impoverished.
There are at least three reasons why it has become important for Los Angeles to exert purposeful influence on its own economic trajectory: The population has grown steadily but the number of jobs in the formal economy, where employers comply with labor law, is still below the level of 1990.