County Economy Deconstructed by Lecturer

Christine Aghakhani and Jennifer Bernardo

Los Angeles county’s economy is diverse and continually expanding, according to chief economist Jack Kyser of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation in a lecture Thursday in CM 225.

Many forces dominate the flow of the economy, such as globalization, technology and the county’s ever-changing demographics. Kyser said that L.A. has the world’s third largest port complex, linking us to the world market. L.A. is an international business center; its trade, its language capability and its diverse population makes global links possible.

Technology development is constantly changing the way business operates. Kyser said the aging workforce in aviation and steel technology will be responsible for changing the demographics of the workforce as younger workers opt for vocations in high-technology industries.

L.A.’s economy is greatly misunderstood, Kyser said. Contrary to the popular belief that businesses are leaving the area, it remains competitive. Manufacturing and service industries, such as money management consulting and advertising, are thriving. L.A. also provides a large market for software development and equipment manufacturing.

L.A. has 15 export industries, not including construction and retail. There are also eight engineering schools and four architectural schools that are doing business internationally. People from all over the world come to train here and a significant number stay instead of going back to their countries to employ their education.

Kyser believes that higher education can be turned into an export industry. He said that the area’s openness and creativity are the “driving forces that attract people to go to school in L.A.”

Kyser believes that the business industry needs to be more vocal regarding the energy crisis because it impacts them as much as the regular consumer.

Excessive rate hikes may result in cuts in operating hours and layoffs, he said. Kyser also said the business industry could be an in important link between the people and their government.