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California Metro Economies To Remain Anemic, Report Says

Non-farm employment in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana metro area will grow by a sluggish but encouraging 1.1 percent in 2012, according to a new economic report released Wednesday by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The report predicts the area will have only regained one-fifth of the jobs lost during the 2008 recession by the end of this year. However, a similar pace of growth in cities nationwide, 1.3 percent in 2012, would put the U.S. economy on “solid footing to maintain strong positive growth in 2013 and beyond,” the report stated.

The nation’s economic recovery has been hampered by negative consumer confidence, which the report expects to remain low this year. “The result will be less spending and longer delays in purchasing, putting more drag on economic growth and contributing to the sluggishness of the economy.”

The manufacturing, construction and government sectors are expected to remain weak, with most of the new jobs coming in the areas of education, health, trade and transportation sectors.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is in Washington, D.C. as head of the Conference of Mayors, used the report as ammunition to attack Congress for the slow pace of cities’ economic recoveries.

“It is a direct result of the inaction of this Congress in 2011,” Villaraigosa said. “If we gave the 112th Congress a mid-term report card, the grade would be clear. Congress would get an ‘F.’”

One hundred twenty-five U.S. cities studied saw no net new jobs last year, according to the report produced by IHS Global Insight.

The report predicts it will take five years for 80 of the country’s metro areas to get back to pre-recession employment levels.

Villaraigosa and other mayors will meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the report and urge Obama to work with Congress to pass the legislation.