NEWS: BizFed Poll: L.A.’s BizFed Annual Poll Reveals Disconnect Between Business Outlook and Employment Outlook in Los Angeles County

Posted May 3rd, 2016


Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Contact: Tracy Hernandez (Rafter), 818-429-0862
David Englin, 703-505-6045

BizFed Poll: L.A.’s BizFed Annual Poll Reveals Disconnect Between Business Outlook and Employment Outlook in Los Angeles County; Top Concerns Also Revealed 
Annual BizFed survey of employers suggests that sluggish hiring may play a role in uneven regional economic recovery LOS ANGELES – Tuesday, May 3rd — Los Angeles County employers are optimistic about their business outlook for 2016, but are more guarded about their future hiring, according to a new Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) survey released today.

About two-thirds of respondents (64 percent) expect business conditions will be either significantly or slightly better than 2015, the survey results indicated. But fewer than half (41 percent) plan to hire this year, and an additional 41 percent of respondents anticipated “no significant change” in employment outlook for 2016.

“These findings suggest that growth in our local economy over the last few years has buoyed the spirits of local employers,” said Tracy Hernandez, Founding CEO, BizFed. “However, it appears general optimism isn’t translating evenly into hiring people. Rather, employers are choosing a more cost certain investment in technology and equipment.”

The annual BizFed poll represents a snapshot of key issues of concern in the Los Angeles County business community, based on surveys of business owners and executives regarding the issues they deem most critical to the ongoing operation and growth of their business.

Employers reported that their top five business concerns were Taxes and Fees, Transportation, Government Regulation/Compliance, Education, and Public Infrastructure. “Significant year over year movement came from employers wanting better education options, access to affordable housing and efficient transportation in order to feel confident in hiring here in Southern California,” said Gilbert Ivey, Chair, BizFed.

This is the sixth consecutive year that Los Angeles businesses have ranked taxes and fees as their top concern, which may reflect general frustration over the perception that even as taxes and fees increase, public services remain stagnant or worsen.

Respondents also pinpointed critical areas for regulatory and infrastructure focus to improve the environment for businesses, including the top three factors that contributed to business leaving Los Angeles County: high taxes and fees (73 percent); the regulatory environment (63 percent); and housing costs (63 percent).

Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated that an increase in the state minimum wage would force them to reduce employees and/or employee hours; forty-six percent said it would have “no impact.” The majority of surveys were collected before Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 3 into law on April 4, 2016. The new law increases California’s $10-an-hour minimum wage incrementally, reaching $15 in 2022, after which it will continue to rise each year by up to 3.5 percent to account for inflation. Twelve percent of employers are planning layoffs this year, compared to about 11 percent in 2015.

“Los Angeles employers are understandably concerned about the state-mandated large wage increases over a short period of time, and that concern may be reflected in hiring hesitation,” said David Fleming, Founding Chair, BizFed. “But interestingly, more respondents expressed concern about potential regionally-imposed increases in the minimum wage, which may reflect overall concerns about business unfriendliness at the local level.”

Over one-quarter of respondents (29 percent) named the City of Los Angeles as the “Least Business Friendly” city in the County. The cities of Torrance, Santa Clarita, El Segundo, Burbank and Long Beach were cited as “most business friendly.”

BizFed leadership and member associations will be using the important insights from this year’s survey to advance a policy agenda that encourages a more supportive environment for local businesses.

About BizFed: BizFed is a grassroots alliance of more than 155 diverse business groups, including industry trade groups, chambers of commerce, ethnic business groups, business improvement districts, premier independent companies and agencies.  The organization represents more than 275,000 businessesthat employ 3 million employees across all 88 cities in Los Angeles County.
BizFed is recognized as the credible voice for business in Los Angeles, Sacramento and Washington, DC.  For more information, please visit BizFed’s website.

Click here for full access to the 2016 BizFed Pulse Poll analysis.

Methodology: Online survey conducted March 1 through April 12, 2016 and distributed throughout BizFed membership and, by extension, their member networks. Survey respondents totaled 643, representing a 100% organizational member participation rate among BizFed’s 155 member organizations at the time. Respondents represent a cross-section of BizFed members and reflect a balanced representation of LA County businesses based on employment size, industry, and location. Survey developed by Employers Group’s Research Department, the BizFed Polling/Research Committee, and the BizFed Board of Directors. Employers Group is a California-based association of employers.

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