Most of Southern California’s industries will grow over the next two years, but two key sectors – entertainment and international trade – might encounter trouble down the road, according to a forecast due to be released today. The overall outlook from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. is generally upbeat – with modest job-growth predictions for this year and next. But the forecast warns of a risk of strikes in the entertainment industry and problems associated with a new identification requirement for truck drivers at the ports. “I would characterize it as a good solid B tending to a B-plus,” said forecast author Jack Kyser, the LAEDC’s vice president and chief economist. “But the big issue is what happens in the entertainment industry and a couple of other nagging concerns.” The forecast calls for job growth across the five-county region of 1.1 percent this year and 1.5 percent in 2008. Last year it was 1.4 percent. This outlook is similar in tone to the one Kyser issued last year and to one released last week by the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. Kyser said the biggest concern is that three labor unions will be negotiating contracts in the motion-picture industry this year and next. This could get contentious. “The risk of a strike, real or de facto, is high, and this would not be good news for areas of Los Angeles County with exposure to the business,” he said. Negotiations three years ago prompted film and television companies to push a lot of work to the first half of the year, which led to a slowdown, described as a de facto strike, in the latter half of the year. The first talks, set for July, involve the Writers Guild of America. And the movie industry continues to face ongoing challenges from runaway production, as well as uncertainty caused by shifts in the way content is delivered. The report also laments the fact that state legislators failed to deliver an incentive package to curb runaway production. Bill Allen, the LAEDC’s president and chief executive officer, said feature-film production days are being replaced by lower-cost forms of programming, such as reality shows, that have less of an economic impact. “I don’t think people in California are paying enough attention to the value of entertainment-industry jobs that are being lost,” he said. “Clearly more than 25 other states are paying attention because they are offering for the first time or are improving incentive programs.” Daniel Blake, director of the San Fernando Valley Economic Research Center at California State University, Northridge, said motion-picture production remains one of the region’s better performers. “It’s got a good strong base here,” he said. “It’s one of the key ones for growth.” Kyser expects motion-picture and sound employment to grow by 4.5 percent this year and then dip by 1.4 percent in 2008. The forecast will be released today at a conference starting at 8 a.m. at the Marriott Hotel, 333 S. Figueroa St., in downtown Los Angeles. Kyser says the region enjoys a Goldilocks economy at this point – not too hot and not too cold. The housing-market slowdown will continue to have an impact, but the sector should stabilize by year’s end. The superheated appreciation of the past, however, will not reappear. International trade is also at some risk, but not in the short term. The problems will be the introduction of the Transportation Worker Identification Credential. Workers will need it to go unaccompanied into steamship terminals at the ports, and there is concern that many of the port truck drivers won’t be able to get one because of their immigration status. But when this will take effect remains unclear. And despite the overall economic slowdown, six of 11 export industries received an A or A-minus grade in this year’s forecast. They are commercial aerospace (A), business and professional services (A), biomedicine (A-), international trade (A), technology (A-) and tourism and travel (A-). The only sector receiving a D grade – for the third consecutive time – is health services. firstname.lastname@example.org (818) 713-3743ECONOMIC FORECAST Here is a snapshot of the Southern California economic forecast for 2007: The Inland Empire will see job growth of 1.7 percent, and Los Angeles County is next at 1.1 percent. In Ventura County, it will be up by 0.5 percent. Los Angeles County will create the largest number of new jobs, 43,700. Ventura County will add 1,600 jobs. Motion-picture employment in Los Angeles County could rise by 4,500 jobs in 2007 and then drop by 2,000 jobs in 2008. International trade will move to record levels, with container volume at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles up by 10.5 percent, to 17.4 million units. Source: Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!