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A Guide to the 2019 Los Angeles Job Market

Are you ready to leave your life behind and move to the big city of Los Angeles? To make it happen, you'll need a job — and a big paycheck.

Bloggers suggest that life in Los Angeles comes with a hefty price tag.

An excellent job in a growth industry could get you the big salary you're hoping for, but LA has a few declining job markets you'll need to steer clear of. You could get a big paycheck now, but in a year or two, that job could be gone altogether.

Here is what you need to know to make it as a prosperous resident of LA.

LA’s Job Market Snapshot

Will you find a job in a heartbeat? Or will you need to hustle to find a gig? Unemployment job numbers help you plan for the future. And when it comes to LA, you have both good news and bad to digest.

California's unemployment rate was 4.6% in June of 2019, researchers say. That compares favorably to the previous years listed below:

  • June 2017: 4.8%
  • June 2016: 5.4%
  • June 2015: 6.8%
  • June 2014: 8.3%

If you see a trend here, you're not alone. The number of unemployed LA people dips every single year. That means, overall, you won't face stiff competition for jobs you're applying for.

Those numbers should hold steady, analysts say. In many parts of the country, there's a hidden group of unemployed workers. They don't have jobs now, but they've been looking for so long that they gave up on the search. They aren't counted in the numbers, even though they could change their minds at any moment and leap into the job market.

California has a large community of retired workers. They're not interested in getting new jobs or launching careers. Their years of hard work are behind them. They won't be fighting you for new jobs. They'll stay where they are.

Hot LA Jobs Right Now

While overall numbers look good, you'll see fluctuations between market sectors. If you are searching for a job right now, it's best to focus on those areas with the most job openings. There are several to choose from.

Reporters suggest that hot job sectors in March 2019 included:

  • Education. In March, 4,200 K-12 teaching jobs opened up in LA County. If you have a passion for teaching young people, there could be plenty of schools looking for you.
  • Motion pictures. If you know how to pick up sounds and voices in movie sets, you're in luck. More than 3,500 of these jobs opened up.
  • Construction. California is experiencing a building boom. More than 2,900 jobs opened in March, and that's not peak construction season.

If you have a background in any of these job sectors, it's time to start applying for open positions. These areas all have robust growth, and that means there should be job openings right now.

worker doing welding

LA Job Sectors in Decline

While some jobs grow popular, others fall away. There are a few job sectors in LA right now that just don't have enough new postings to meet employment demand. Steering clear of them could mean ensuring you stay out of unemployment lines.

Sectors losing the most jobs in LA, per the California Employment Development Department, include:

  • Government positions. This was the biggest loss leader between June and July 2019. More than 39,000 positions disappeared. Some were lost due to the impending summer break, of course, but others went away for good.
  • Health care. This is a bit of a surprise, as the health care sector has been strong all across the country. But in LA, the education and health care sector lost more than 6,000 jobs.
  • Leisure and hospitality. May, June, and July 2019 were hard on the hospitality sector. A record number of jobs dropped away. If you were hoping to bartend or work as a barista until a better gig came along, this data should give you a reason to look into something else instead.

If you hope to work in these industries, don't be discouraged. In a few weeks or months, the numbers could change. You'll need to watch the trends closely.

LA Industries to Watch

Some people are looking for new jobs right now. Current data is critical for them. But if you're hoping to make a switch later in the year, you'll need more long-range information to inform your decisions. Researchers have examined the trends and identified a few positions on the rise.

The organization LA Tourism reminds readers that Los Angeles has always been home to moviemakers and entertainment. Those jobs remain, but other sectors experiencing growth include:

  • Aerospace. There are several aerospace companies at work within Los Angeles County. If you're an engineer, technician, researcher, or space nut, this could be a place you can call home.
  • Bioscience. Plenty of teaching hospitals exist within Los Angeles, and there are many research facilities too. If you're interested in researching cures for chronic disease, or you've always wanted to work in a lab to help your fellow doctors do their jobs a bit better, LA could be just right for you.
  • Startups. You could be part of a team building and demonstrating the next wave of autonomous vehicles, or you could help companies develop better biofuels. LA is a hotbed of research and capital.
  • Fashion. The entertainment industry bleeds into other job sectors. Stars and starlets need innovative clothes. Costume designers need help too. As a fashion professional, you could develop or sell those clothes. There are plenty of top brands at work in LA right now.
workers at a start up

LA Trends to Monitor

Hoping to leap onto the next big wave of employment opportunities, long before anyone else knows this trend is happening? You're in luck. There are plenty of small industries flying under the radar of employment experts. Any of them could provide you with the job and paycheck you've been hoping for.

Industries on the move include:

  • Digital media. We're moving through a time of technological innovation, and it's changing what we consider entertainment. LA is at the center of that transformation, experts say, and small companies are popping up to help.
    You could join one and help to produce visual effects, build interactive games, and more. You'll need a strong background in arts and technology to make it work, but these are jobs that tend to come with high salaries.
  • Manufacturing. When we think of jobs in this sector, we often focus on people working in large factories with big machines. Jobs like that exist in LA, reporters say, but it's more common to find big, planning jobs.
    You could help to develop the next system of highways to carry people from one place to another. You can build massive airplanes. You could create shipping routes for the whole country.
  • Food and drink. LA innovators help to create new flavors for soft drinks, chips, and more. Companies also source fruits and vegetables from local farms and ship them all across the country to local families. California researchers also look for ways to ensure that food is produced in a green and ethical manner, so the country stays healthier.

The job market in LA is diverse. California's reputation for innovation and experimentation ensures that new opportunities will always appear, as long as there are people willing to do the work.

If you’re smart and ready to sell your idea, you could create your own job in an industry no one has ever heard of before. That could be easier to do in LA than anywhere else in the country.

Look for Your LA Job

Are you ready to get started on your LA job search? We can help. Whether you want to work in manufacturing, entertainment, health care, or something else altogether, we have opportunities for you.

Hop onto our website, and look for jobs within the Greater Los Angeles area. Sort your list by industry, and ensure you're only looking for the jobs you really want.

If you don't find something you love, don't get discouraged! We update our lists frequently, so check back to see what's new.

References

How Much to Live Comfortably in Los Angeles? The Standard of Moolah. (June 2016). The Huffington Post.

Unemployment Rate in Los Angeles County, LA. (June 2019). Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The California Economy: Unemployment Update. Public Policy Institute of California.

L.A. County Unemployment Drops as Workforce Shrinks. (April 2019). San Fernando Valley Business Journal.

Government Leads Six Sectors Losing Jobs Over the Month. (August 2019). State of California Employment Development Department.

L.A.'s Top Trailblazing Industries. (March 2019). L.A. Tourism.

Digital Media and Entertainment. Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

What Gets Made in LA Is Way More Than Movies. (November 2015). National Public Radio.

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