L.A. County Movie/TV Employment at Highest Level in Four Years: Study

The annual economic forecast indicates that the industry -- with 129,700 jobs -- is almost back to pre-recession levels.

The movie and television production industries added more than 4,600 jobs in Los Angeles County last year, which is a gain of 3.7 percent over 2011, according to the annual Economic Forecast & Industry Outlook released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

That brought the total number of movie/TV jobs in the county to 129,700, the highest level of employment for the sector in four years.

“While industry employment has returned to pre-recession levels, it is still shy of the 2004 peak of 132,200 jobs,” says the report, which was prepared by Robert Kleinhenz, chief economist for L.A. County.

The number of independent contractor employed by the film and TV industries is estimated at about 85,000 for 2012, which is back at pre-recession levels when there were about 82,400 independent contractors in the county. It fell as low as 81,000 in 2009.

The report also looks at permitted on-location production days (movie, TV and commercial shoots outside of studio lots). There was a 1.7 percent gain in 2012, according to the report, to 46,254 production days in the county. The peak pre-recession period saw about 55,000 days (2005 through 2007).

It was the third consecutive annual increase since it hit bottom in 2009.

Those on-location production days by category showed that features were up 3.7 percent, commercials jumped by 14.1 percent, but TV declined 3.4 percent (after a 2.5 percent decrease in 2011).

The annual report, which surveys all industries across the region, predicts modest growth in the national economy with real GDP growing from 2.2 percent in 2012 to 2.4 percent in fiscal year 2014 (with a dip to 1.8 percent growth in 2013).

It forecasts that the California economy will grow a bit faster than the national economy. The report also predicts that the state’s unemployment rate will fall from 10.5 percent in 2012 to 9.8 percent in fiscal 2013 and then to 8.9 percent in fiscal 2014.

The report estimates that California will continue to have relatively slow population growth with a 0.7 percent increase in 2012, a 0.9 percent increase in 2013 and a 0.9 percent increase in 2014.