It is more expensive to work and live in Los Angeles than ever before, a trend posing new problems for both employers and their employees. While many metropolitan areas are currently feeling the effects of rising housing and living costs, the issue is especially dire in Los Angeles, where one-third of all workers make less than $30,000.
The high cost of housing in the region has made it significantly harder for businesses to recruit and retain workers. Companies that have taken steps to assist employees in reducing their financial burdens, such as sweetening hiring packages or providing mortgage assistance, reported more success maintaining their workforce. Despite this, a majority of businesses have not pursued strategies to alleviate the financial pressure facing their employees.
This report is a follow-up to the 2017 report issued by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute and Dr. Raphael Bostic, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, which explored how major employers were reacting to the high cost of living and housing in Los Angeles.
In this phase of research, a team of USC researchers led by Dr. Gary Painter examined how the high costs of living and housing in Los Angeles affects the fastest growing industry sectors in the region and explores how these conditions might hinder key industries from reaching their full potential. Specifically, this report targets three of the fastest growing industries in L.A. County in terms of job growth: (1) Health Care and Social Assistance (HCSA), (2) Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services (PSTS), and (3) Accommodation and Food Services (AFS). The research team surveyed 18 Los Angeles employers in these three industries, accounting for roughly 84,000 employees, to see how their experiences align or differ from that of the major employers surveyed in 2017.