Campus: CSU, Northridge -- November 5, 1999


SFV Economic Recovery Nearly Complete

An increasingly diverse San Fernando Valley is enjoying a resurgent economy with enough strength to suggest the recovery from the recession of the early 1990s is nearly complete, according to a new study by Cal State Northridge economists.

The university's San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center, headed by economics professor and center director Shirley Svorny, today issued its second annual Report of Findings on the San Fernando Valley Economy for 1999-2000 during a business forecast conference in Woodland Hills.

"The data suggests the Valley is recovering from the recession," said Svorny in summarizing the findings of the 66-page report. "The economic indicators paint a picture of a healthy economy. We're no longer in an economic downturn and can expect future growth."

The report details the latest economic and demographic trends in the San Fernando Valley, a region that covers 289 square miles and had a population of 1.63 million as of January 1999. Relative just to Los Angeles City, the Valley accounts for 47 percent of the city's land and for 34 percent of its population.

As defined in the report, the broader San Fernando Valley encompasses all or parts of six cities: Burbank, Calabasas, Glendale, Hidden Hills, Los Angeles and San Fernando, plus the unincorporated county area of Universal City. The latter has no inhabitant population, but does have extensive economic activity.

Among the principal findings of the report:

  • The Valley has about 630,000 private sector jobs with annual payroll totaling $23.8 billion. Annual payroll in the region grew 9 percent for the year ending with the third quarter of 1998, although total private sector employment rose less than 1 percent. Comparable public sector data was not available.

  • Estimates of year-to-year gains in employment suggest that local jobs increased in four major categories: construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade and transportation/public utilities..

  • In real estate, housing prices rose for the second year in a row. Apartment vacancy rates are at 15-year lows. Office and industrial vacancy rates have declined as well. Construction permits show activity in every sector. Chapter 11 bankruptcies continued to decline, as did residential notices of default and foreclosures.

  • The entertainment industry continues to be a major contributor to the Valley's economy. For the year ending the third quarter of 1998, entertainment in the Valley accounted for 25 percent of private sector payroll (nearly $6 billion) and 17 percent of private sector employment (107,019 jobs).

  • The Valley has continued to become more ethnically diverse. As of 1997, according to county data, the Valley's population was 48 percent white, 39 percent Hispanic, 10 percent Asian and 3 percent black. The county estimated that 16.6 percent of Valley residents live in poverty.

  • In ethnicity among different communities, San Fernando had the largest share of Hispanic residents with 89 percent, Calabasas and Hidden Hills had the largest share of whites with 84 percent, Lake View Terrace had the largest share of blacks with 21 percent, and Chatsworth had the largest share of Asians with 18 percent.

  • In school enrollments, students of Hispanic and Filipino heritage increased by 21 and 24 percent, respectively, at Valley campuses within the Los Angeles Unified School District between 1994 and 1998. With those gains, Hispanic-origin students now account for nearly 64 percent of total LAUSD-Valley enrollments.

  • Of particular political interest, the center's study includes the previously unreported results of a consultant's report done for the city of Los Angeles on the geographic source of 1996 city tax revenues. The estimate is that nearly 38 percent of the city's tax revenues that year came from the Valley portion of the city.

  • In 1998, Democrats outnumbered Republicans by a 52 to 32 percent spread among registered voters in the Los Angeles City portion of the Valley and the city of San Fernando. Among communities, Pacoima had the largest share of Democrats (75 percent), while Sunland had the most Republicans (44 percent).

  • In law enforcement, the number of crimes committed in the Valley continued to decline, mirroring changes nationwide. Murders, burglaries and larcenies-thefts reported in the Los Angeles City portion of the Valley declined on a per capita basis. The Valley Bureau's share of crimes among those reported to the LAPD for the entire city remained at 30 percent.

Copies of the center's report are available for $35 from the development office in CSUN's College of Business Administration and Economics at (818) 677-3621. Additional information about the center is available at its web site, http://econ.csun.edu/sfvalley.



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