Majority of New Jobs in Los Angeles Will Be Low-Skilled

By: Daniel Steingold | June 01, 2016

Los Angeles County is expected to add over 346,000 jobs by 2020, but a majority of these jobs are believed to pay low wages.

For example, food services and office administration positions that only require a high school diploma and pay well under the median wage are expected to lead the pack, adding around 93,000 new jobs combined, according to new projections made by Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

Fields that demand more high-skill workers, such as those in engineering and machinery, are only expected to add about 19,000 jobs over that same time period.

This rate of job growth would suggest a 1.5 percent average annual growth rate through 2020. This rate is consistent with the rate of expansion that has occurred since the recovery from the Great Recession in February 2010.

Many believe that this rate of growth is sustainable in Los Angeles County because of many individuals becoming part of the workforce again, along with an increase in the county’s population.

Still, it is worrisome that so few created jobs are in fields that require education and specialization; many believe that a “brain drain,” in which educated people move elsewhere, will take place.

With about 25 percent of L.A. County’s residents possessing a bachelor’s degree or higher, it is a valid concern to ask if many will simple leave. In previous years, many have gone up north, to tech hotspots like Silicon Valley.

The story of Los Angeles and its lack of skilled jobs is believed to be a microcosm of the grander United States, rather than just being an outlier.

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