I’m excited about three good reports about job creation in Los Angeles. Last week, a major international business chose L.A. City and County to be its North American headquarters.
Secondly, our signature entertainment industry posted very positive numbers compared to last year.
And finally, L.A. County and the University of Southern California appear to be close to establishing a biotech park around the USC Health Sciences campus in Boyle Heights. All three stories represent major economic breakthroughs for our region.
Chinese manufacturer BYD Auto Company Limited has chosen Los Angeles to be its North American headquarters. The decision will create an estimated 150 jobs in sales, marketing, research and development for cars and energy-efficiency products. It will also create more than 1,000 indirect jobs. BYD began selling the world’s first mass-produced plug-in hybrid vehicle back in 2008 and is now working on the first electric car that won’t require a charging station.
The company’s decision to choose L.A. was based in large part on the successful outreach effort by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner and his economic development team. BYD was founded in 1995 with one employee and now employs 160,000 people worldwide. It was recently named one of the “50 most innovative companies in the world” by Bloomberg Businessweek.
There are also positive signs for keeping film and television production in Los Angeles. Last week, L.A. City Hall unveiled an electronic system designed to streamline the film permitting process for street closures and parking. E-permitting will save time and money and aid in retaining and growing entertainment production jobs in Los Angeles.
The L.A. Area Chamber pushed hard for state tax credits to keep filming in California. Those credits were finally approved by Sacramento in 2009, and they are already starting to pay off. Film L.A. reports that nine more feature films chose to film in Los Angeles this year compared to the first quarter in 2009. Overall on-location filming has improved by 18 percent over last year with 11,087 permitted production days so far in 2010.
All over the nation, communities and universities have been collaborating on research and commercialization centers to attract federal and private research dollars and incubate new companies in science and technology. The biotech park being discussed by USC and L.A. County would include collaboration with faculty members from UCLA and the California Institute of Technology and pay dividends to our region in so many ways.
These three exciting progress reports represent more than good news. They represent a breakthrough in thinking by elected officials and their staffs at the city, county and state level. It is our hope that together, they will create a snowball effect (yes, in Southern California) that will lead to many more job producing announcements in the months and years ahead.
Local and state governments have the ability to create and retain private-sector jobs by making it easier and less expensive for businesses to innovate and operate. These three examples show that it works. Let’s keep the snowball rolling!