The San Fernando Valley’s economy is expected to grow 4.1 percent this year – once again outpacing the rest of Los Angeles County, Ventura County and the state.
“The San Fernando Valley is a true economic hot spot,” Economist Matthew Fienup said Wednesday at the Valley Economic Forecast Breakfast held at Larsen’s Steakhouse in Woodland Hills. In fact, every sector of the Valley’s non-farm economy experienced some growth over the past year, which is unusual, he said.
Fienup is executive director of California Lutheran University’s Center for Economic Research and Forecasting. He and the center’s director of economics, Dan Hamilton, produce a Valley-specific economic analysis and forecast in partnership with the San Fernando Valley Business Journal. This was the center’s third such Valley forecast.
Fienup pointed out that in each of the two previous forecasts, he predicted the Valley would grow more than its neighbors. Still, he underestimated the progress. Last year, he predicted 3.1 percent growth for 2019 – a full percentage point lower than he now anticipates.
Fienup expects growth next year to be 3.8 percent in the Valley.
All is not rosy. He said the Valley’s middle-class is being “hollowed out” as middle-income jobs are shrinking. At the same time, housing costs in already-pricey California are particularly high in the Valley. And job growth – although relatively high at 2.2 percent this year and 2 percent next year – is not growing as fast as the economy.
For the first time, the economists produced a second analysis that includes the Valley cities of Glendale and Burbank. Burbank’s economy is particularly volatile as it follows the entertainment industry, and that booming sector turbocharges the outlook. The economists believe the broader Valley’s growth will be much higher – 5.7 percent this year and 4.7 percent next year – but cautioned that adding those two cities “raises the chance that we will be wrong.”
For a complete review of the economists’ outlook, see the special supplement in the March 4 issue of the Business Journal.