Breaking the Fall – Covid Interventions Prevented Homelessness Struggling workers are either everyone’s responsibility now or everyone’s problem later. When poorly paid workers become jobless at the thin edge of the job market and then unable to pay rent, homeless destitution follows. In fact, we are equipped with the tools we need to protect workers from the sharper edges of joblessness and to combat homelessness.
COVID-driven loss of jobs and employment income will cause the number of homeless workers to increase each year through 2023. Without large-scale, government employment programs the Pandemic Recession is projected to cause twice as much homelessness as the 2008 Great Recession. The Economic Roundtable used data from the 2008 Great Recession to estimate the linkage between job loss and homelessness and forecast the amount and type of pandemic-driven homelessness in Los Angeles, California and the United States.
Meeting the basic needs of unemployed workers throughout this economic downturn is essential for preserving our social fabric and civic institutions. California needs to take direct action to address the economic emergency caused by COVID-19 that is causing widespread business closures and extremely high unemployment. Forty-three percent of California workers have a high risk of unemployment.
Public assistance programs are Los Angeles’s primary interface with individuals experiencing homelessness and can be a catalyst for connecting at-risk and homeless recipients with crucial services and reducing the massive public costs associated with chronic homelessness. The vital role is to identify tripwire events among all recipients, particularly children and transition-age youth, and quickly connect at-risk individuals with needed employment, behavioral health and housing services.
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.
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.
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?
Why aren’t more welfare parents becoming economically self-sufficient after participating in the LA County Welfare to Work Program, GAIN (Greater Avenue for Independence)? What has happened to these parents since entering the labor market after GAIN? The answers to these and other questions are presented in “Prisoners of Hope,” a report originally requested by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on December 19, 2000.
How do people change their lives? What kinds of help do working poor parents need to lift their families out of poverty? What obstacles do they face in trying to get a sustaining job? More than eight thousand people answered these questions through a survey undertaken to learn directly from working welfare parents and other poor families about the problems they face and the kinds of help they need to become self-sufficient.
This briefing paper reports on business recovery in buildings damaged during the 1992 civil unrest, the availability of jobs in different areas of Los Angeles, and changes in South Los Angeles’ industry base since 1992. Where were buildings damaged during the civil unrest located? Most buildings damaged during the civil unrest were located on commercial streets in high poverty neighborhoods in South Los Angeles.
The informal economy produces legal goods and services that are not effectively regulated. Such activities can give rise to abuses by employers who fail to respect basic labor, safety, immigration, and tax laws, leaving workers without rights. By definition the informal economy is hidden "under the table" and "off the books." However, by comparing different sources of employment data we can identify industries where a significant share of jobs appear to be unreported. Industry characteristics such as worker demographics can also be used as an additional indicator of informal employment.
In his 1963 letter from the Birmingham jail Martin Luther King, Jr. described the despair of people “smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society.” It is important to understand the extent to which this image of entrapment still describes the wage-earning lives of the working poor as they try to support their families.
The loss of a welfare safety net for most adults for most of their lives makes the quality of jobs available to the working poor and their success in finding and keeping jobs increasingly important. The economic and civic life of the Los Angeles region will be shaped by connections that are made, or fail to be made, between the growing ranks of working poor and opportunities for steady, sustaining, productive employment.
The South Bay Economic Adjustment Strategy has been prepared to help elected officials, public sector staff, business leaders, and citizens take coordinated, effective action to recover jobs lost because of defense cutbacks. The strategy has been prepared under a grant from the Office of Economic Adjustment in the Department of Defense that was administered by Los Angeles County’s Community Development Commission.
Welfare reform raises the prickly question of what mix of understanding, support and pragmatic pressure is needed to move welfare recipients into employment. Many workers are scrambling to keep the wolf from their own doors in the face of industry restructuring, rapid technological change, and intense pressures to increase corporate profits.
The City of Long Beach and other centers of aerospace production that reaped the rewards of the 1980s defense-spending boom must now confront the realities of restructuring. Since World War II, the Douglas Aircraft plant made Long Beach an important center of the US aerospace industry and dominated the local economy. In 1992, the Long Beach aerospace industry employed 36,100 workers, which was 22 percent of the city's total employment. Almost all of these workers were employed by McDonnell Douglas. Long Beach aerospace workers earned a total payroll of over $1.5 billion, which was 30 percent of the city's total payroll. These figures understate the total impact of aerospace on the Long Beach economy, through linkages with firms in other industries that provide inputs to the aerospace industry, and purchases of goods and services by aerospace workers.
This study examines how firms, workers, and regional economic development institution are dealing with the severe effects of defense downsizing in the Los Angeles region. Between 1988 and 1994 the Los Angeles region lost 127,000 jobs in defense-related industries, including aircraft, missiles, instruments, and electronics. The long economic slump set off by defense cuts has incited a major debate between the advocates of regional institution building and proactive economic development and those arguing for the laissez-faire approach of reducing taxes, wages, and environmental costs.
SYNOPSIS Purpose The 1994 Business Survey was initiated by the City of Long Beach to guide and strengthen its business outreach and retention efforts. Technical guidance, data analysis, and report preparation was carried out by the Economic Roundtable. The purpose was to: Identify the concerns, needs and opportunities of businesses in order to strengthen City programs for supporting Long Beach’s economic base.
Background An interdisciplinary research team analyzed information about the labor market, economy, industries, and defense linkages of Los Angeles County. The report recommends an economic adjustment strategy to reduce severe job losses projected as a result of cutbacks in defense funding for Los Angeles County industries.