L.A. Employers Fear Loss of Workers, Survey Finds

By City News Service

The Los Angeles Business Council, a group that supports public transit and homeless housing related tax measures on the Nov. 8 ballot, released a USC report last week that indicates some of Los Angeles’s largest employers are worried they are losing job candidates to cities with lower housing costs and shorter commute times.

A survey conducted by USC researchers found that Los Angeles area employers are increasingly concerned that top job candidates are being drawn to employers in other cities because the cost of living in Los Angeles has risen, and traffic congestion is lengthening work commutes, business council representatives said.

Employers are counteracting the region’s costly living conditions by offering benefits packages that provide housing and transportation assistance, according to USC professor and study author Raphael Bostic.

“What we are observing is that businesses are bearing the high cost of housing one way or another, either by developing special packages for higher level employees, offering transit support for workers or covering the transition costs of moving to a new region,” Bostic said.

He added that these companies might even consider relocation, similar to Boeing, which halted its jet manufacturing operations in Long Beach, and SpaceX, which left Los Angeles for Seattle. While “we have not seen a stampede of businesses relocating, they will increasingly view this as a viable option if housing and living expenses continue to become more and more expensive,” Bostic said.

The companies Bostic and his team surveyed include the Cedars-Sinai hospitals, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, UCLA and the university’s hospitals, USC and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works.

The energy company Southern California Gas Co., banking company JPMorgan & Chase, engineering firm AECOM, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and The Broad art museum also took part of the survey.

A final, and fuller report on Bostic’s study is scheduled to be released in the next few months.

The Los Angeles Business Council Institute, which handles research for the council, released the early survey findings at its Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit event today.

The business council backs Measure M, a proposal that seeks to raise the countywide sales tax by a half cent to pay for public transportation, and Proposition HHH, which would give the city of Los Angeles the ability to issue up to $1.2 billion in bonds over the next decade to pay for housing for the
homeless.

Business council president Mary Leslie said “The fact that escalating home prices is hindering major employers from recruiting the best possible workforce raises serious concerns about our ability to maintain a diverse, vibrant economy.”

“That’s why LABC supports passage of Propositions HHH and Measure M because they have the power to increase our housing supply and create a modern transportation network to make our region more economically competitive,” she said.

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November 4, 2016  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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