If you read the story at the top of page 1 in this issue, you’ll see some stunning news that 33 percent of respondents to a survey conducted by the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) said that they are going to lay off employees in 2010. These are big businesses and small businesses – the companies that are members of organizations that make up BizFed, an alliance of 72 groups and 150,000 businesses. This 33 percent figure is up from 14 percent last year. Stunning, just stunning. But when you analyze it, it all makes sense. And it’s all kind of scary. BizFed CEO Tracy Rafter says that these layoff predictions indicate that there’s a structural shift occurring in business operations. It will truly be a jobless recovery. A recovery that economists and professors will be talking about for years to come. Businesses are learning how to work leaner to stay competitive. That’s a good thing. But not for workers and that could send chilling reverberations everywhere. In the long run, we’ll be better off for it but it’ll hurt in the meantime. We’ll be better off because businesses will become more efficient and probably more productive. We’ll be able to output more locally. But what about the overall economy with job loss percentages in the teens? That will affect retail and restaurant spending, social services and crime statistics in varying ways. I’m no economist, but don’t people need jobs for an economy to be healthy? And won’t the loss of jobs just bring less of a demand for goods and services thus hurting most businesses anyway? Maybe so. But do our jobs need to be the jobs that we have now? What about a realignment of our economy? Now is the time for all of us who have any vested interest in our local economy to really think about the new Valley, the new L.A. Can’t we turn our attentions now to really promoting and attracting industries that attract lots of jobs no matter what the economy? I’m talking about health care (Stay tuned to the Business Journal’s Dec. 7 issue in which we’ll talk about how aging baby boomers will change the face of health care.) There will be lots of jobs out there dealing with sick and old people. There’s already a huge health care infrastructure here in our valleys to work off of. How about technology? It’s pervasive and the only thing that is guaranteed to advance no matter what. We’ve got some forward thinking tech companies here that just need to be nurtured. We haven’t even talked about entertainment. Whatever form that entertainment is delivered in the next 50 years, the delivery channel must have content to deliver. Most of the content producers are here in our local area. That provides jobs. Why don’t we better nurture these industries that we have? We could be so more economically powerful than we are now. I’ll go back to my fallback answer on most of this stuff – California and local governments are dysfunctional, cynical, ignorant and self-serving to say the least. We must elect better people across the board. OK – I’ve got stats to prove my point. The BizFed study found that 74 percent of L.A. city respondents believe their city is not friendly to business compared to 44 percent of respondents outside the City of Los Angeles. Hello – city officials, get it, everybody in the business community hates you. Do you think we’d even have a city without business? Think about it. Business Journal Editor Jason Schaff can be reached at (818) 316-3125 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.