Entertainment Just One Aspect of Diverse Los Angeles Economy

The 2nd largest US city also thrives in tourism, tech, finance, trade, healthcare & more. Breaking down the City of Angel’s diverse economy.

Los Angeles is one of the most famous cities on the planet, but reputation alone doesn’t keep a city moving. Fortunately for the United States’ second largest metropolis, a robust and diverse economy keeps people employed in a wide range of sectors.

Hollywood Synonymous with Entertainment Industry

The Los Angeles County neighborhood of Hollywood is synonymous with the entertainment industry itself. Not only does ‘Tinseltown’ give L.A. global cache, it serves as an entertainment ecosystem that brings with it over 100,000 jobs.1

Film studios and TV production companies provide a wide array of jobs, spanning creative, technical, and administrative roles. Talent such as actors, directors, and writers are integral, while behind-the-scenes professionals include cinematographers, editors, set designers, costume designers, makeup artists, animators, special effects experts, digital producers, and other creative specialists.

The industry also employs marketing and public relations experts, agents, lawyers, and executives for business and strategic roles.

Recent writers’ and actors’ strikes took a toll on the industry, but have now been settled, leading to high hopes for a strong rebound. Some believe that problems run deeper, with evolving entertainment economics posing a threat, along with artificial intelligence.

In addition to film and television, the music industry is another major component of L.A.’s entertainment sector.

Los Angeles a Major World Economic Centre

Los Angeles has moved into sixth place in terms of world financial centres, as per a recent update of the Global Financial Centres Index.2

The city’s finance sector is home to a growing community of financial institutions, investment firms, insurance companies, and venture capital entities. Real estate finance is notable, given the city’s dynamic property market.

The sector also supports the region’s diverse industries, while offering employment opportunities in areas such as banking, investment management, and financial consulting.

L.A.’s Silicon Beach a Major Technology Hub

While perhaps not as famous as the ‘Silicon Valley’ region to the north, Los Angeles’ ‘Silicon Beach’ is a major tech hub and an economic boon to the area. In all, L.A. is home to over 500 technology companies.3

Start ups include Snapchat and Tinder, while a partial list of companies that have major offices in L.A. reads like a who’s who in the tech world. These include Google, Yahoo, YouTube, BuzzFeed, Facebook, Salesforce, AOL, Electronic Arts, Sony, EdgeCast Networks, MySpace, Amazon, Apple, and Netflix.3

In 2021 there were 88,000 engineers employed in the area, the highest of any metro area in the United States.3

L.A.’s Manufacturing and Fashion Industries

Los Angeles boasts a diverse manufacturing sector, encompassing technology, aerospace, and fashion.

In the high-tech sector, manufacturing is the natural result of R&D, with companies like Tesla contributing to the electric vehicle revolution. 

The city’s aerospace industry, led by giants like Boeing and SpaceX, plays a pivotal role in space exploration. As of 2018, 50,000 Angelinos were employed in the aerospace sector.4

Additionally, LA is a fashion hub, home to a thriving garment district producing renowned clothing brands. 

Manufacturing ventures are attracted by the city’s strategic location, skilled workforce, and innovation-driven atmosphere. 

Port of Los Angeles One of the World’s Busiest

The Port of Los Angeles has been ranked the number one container port in the Western Hemisphere for 23 consecutive years (and counting).5 Together with the neighboring Port of Long Beach, it forms the San Pedro Bay Port Complex, which creates 168,000 jobs in the city.5

Together, the two ports handled 29% of all containerized international waterborne trade in the US.5 Put another way, if something in the US is traded by sea, there’s a 29% chance it comes through LA/Long Beach hence why the Port is considered a bellwether for the U.S. economy itself.

Los Angeles Tourism Industry Fuelled by Hollywood, Weather, Attractions

As it turns out, having your city become synonymous with glamour and mega-celebrity is a great way to attract visitors. 46.2 million tourists came to the City of Angels in 2022, bringing it back to 91.1% of 2019’s record-breaking pre-pandemic level, a strong recovery,6 This accounted for $34.5 billion in business sales.

It’s not just the chance to catch a glimpse of a star that pulls visitors to L.A., attractions such as Disneyland and Universal Studios are popular, as are beaches and sunshine.

L.A. Healthcare Sector Important to Local Economy

L.A. is home to world class medical facilities and research institutions. In 2022 there were 457,310 jobs in healthcare support, which represents 7.5% of local area employment. This figure is well above the national average of 4.6%.7

The Los Angeles area is not without its challenges. Income inequality and unaffordable housing are persistent problems. Nonetheless, a resilient and diverse economy offer promise for the future. In addition to the industries mentioned above, fashion, education, and all manner of professional services provide jobs. With a growing tech sector poised to tackle the 21st Century’s issues, Los Angeles looks well positioned to maintain a healthy economy for decades to come.

Cited Sources

1 “Here’s How Many Jobs L.A. Lost during the Hollywood Strikes.” Los Angeles Times, December 7, 2023. https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/business/story/2023-12-07/actors-writers-strike-economic-impact-report.

2 Millson, Alex. “Los Angeles Overtakes Shanghai in World Financial Centers Ranking.” Bloomberg.com, March 24, 2023. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-03-24/los-angeles-overtakes-shanghai-in-world-financial-centers-ranking?embedded-checkout=true.

3 “Silicon Beach.” Wikipedia, November 2, 2023. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silicon_Beach.

4 Interactive, Blue. “What Drives the Economy of Los Angeles?” Muse Treatment, October 4, 2021. https://musetreatment.com/blog/drives-economy-los-angeles/.

5 “Facts and Figures.” Facts and Figures | Statistics | Port of Los Angeles. Accessed December 13, 2023. https://www.portoflosangeles.org/business/statistics/facts-and-figures.

6 Discover Los Angeles. “Los Angeles Tourism Announces Tourism Industry Generated $34.5 Billion in Total Business Sales in 2022, Impacting More than 528,200 Tourism-Related Careers and $3 Billion in Tax Revenues.” Discover Los Angeles, May 9, 2023. https://www.discoverlosangeles.com/los-angeles-tourism-announces-tourism-industry-generated-345-billion-in-total-business-sales-in.

7 “Occupational Employment and Wages in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim – May 2022 : Western Information Office.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 8, 2023. https://www.bls.gov/regions/west/news-release/occupationalemploymentandwages_losangeles.htm.