The Los Angeles Urban League (LAUL) released a white paper at the State Capitol on Wednesday, August 28, highlighting research from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs that revealed a core problem in Los Angeles County that is impacting quality of life for urban communities: the middle class is declining with the stagnation of income levels and job opportunities.
The UCLA Luskin data indicated that in Los Angeles County, certain areas are seeing growth in jobs and income, and others are experiencing job loss and a reduction in personal income. However, an alarming third trend has emerged: a significant part of Los Angeles is experiencing a growth in jobs – but those jobs are lower-wage and lower growth opportunities. As a result, the middle class is disproportionately shrinking.
The presentation in Sacramento completed a trio of presentations of the data. To read the previous reports, please click here.
For example, UCLA Luskin researchers found that over the period from 1990-2010, new jobs added to the metropolitan Los Angeles region were in industries that paid an average of $52,840 – replacing jobs lost in industries that paid an average wage of $76,003.
The report also found that Los Angeles lags behind in educational achievement. In addition to large discrepancies in economic recovery between regions, the greater metropolitan area is falling behind in developing an educated, well-trained workforce.
“A Tale of Three Cities” indicates that a strong metropolitan economy is the best antidote for community poverty and economic stagnation. The goal for the Los Angeles area must be economically healthy, robust, vital communities throughout the County, with middle income jobs that provide a high standard of living. Economic opportunity and stability are key factors associated with improved quality of life.
“It will take leadership, engagement and commitment to re-build the middle class and ensure there are opportunities for upward economic mobility for all Los Angeles County residents,” said Nolan Rollins, president of the Los Angeles Urban League. “We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to develop policies and programs that support our businesses, train our workforce and bring high-wage jobs to the great state of California.”
The Los Angeles Urban League is calling on policymakers to take action to restore opportunities for economic parity, which will come from the implementation of state and local policies that support business development, create jobs, and restore economic vitality to the inner city communities. Specifically, LAUL recommends three immediate policy initiatives:
LAUL President Nolan Rollins presented findings from “A Tale of Three Cities” today at the State Capitol at a commemoration of the 50-year anniversary of the March on Washington, D.C. hosted by Assemblymember Shirley Weber and the California Legislative Black Caucus.
“This report raises critical questions about the two-tier economy arising from the disparity of our state’s economic recovery, especially in Los Angeles County, one of the biggest and most diverse counties in the nation,” said Rob Lapsley, President of the California Business Roundtable. “It shows that there is a significant need for state and local officials to consider why quality, middle class jobs are leaving the state and being replaced by lower wage jobs.”
The Los Angeles Urban League, in partnership with the California Business Roundtable, commissioned UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs to examine California’s business climate to better understand the impact of a struggling economy on urban communities. After two community forums, the report is a product of the UCLA Luskin School analysis, the community’s engagement and input, and the Los Angeles Urban League’s call to action.