John Ransom

When I was growing up everyone one used to know who the mayors of major cities were. In Chicago, it was a Daley, always a Daley. In New York, it was it was Ed Koch. In Los Angeles, it was Tom Bradley.

But few can name the mayor of LA today. It’s so much the better for LA’s current mayor Eric Garcetti, who, by all accounts outside of Los Angeles, is doing a lousy job.

And while sheer size ensures that the metro area of Los Angeles counts for something economically, LA is no longer the cultural and business leader it once was. High taxes have driven companies out of LA proper and out of California all together. The city’s newspaper of record the LA Times no longer holds the sway it once did- its parent company just put it up for sale. And “things” Los Angeles no longer bulk large in the nation’s discourse, unless it’s Hollywood trivia or gang culture.

As Joel Kotkin wrote in the New York Times in July of 2009: “Los Angeles today is a city in secular decline. Its current political leadership seems determined to turn the sprawling capitalist dynamo into a faux New York. But they are more likely to leave behind a dense, government-dominated, bankrupt, dysfunctional, Athens by the Pacific.”

Today the largest employers in the city are governments or government-sponsored enterprises. According to the city’s financial report from 2010, the city of Los Angeles and the county of Los Angeles account for 25 percent of all jobs. (http://ens.lacity.org/ctr/financial/ctrfinancial18265184_02262010.pdf page 332)

Employer No. Jobs Percent

City of Los Angeles 52,721 13.46%

County of Los Angeles 46,83011.95%

University of California Los Angeles 14,0503.59%

University of Southern California 13,0443.33%

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center 11,000 2.81%

Kaiser Foundation Hospitals 9,7002.48%

If you add in state schools UCLA and USC, 32 percent of all employees work for organizations funded by the government. And if you consider hospitals state sponsored, as I do- since they derive much of their revenue from the federal government- you can add another 5 percent for a grand total of 37 percent of people employed by federal, state or local taxes.

That’s 147,345 jobs. The next largest private sector employer, Fox Entertainment, employs 7,310 people.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.
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