The unemployment rate in Long Beach continues to decline and has reached a seven-year low, dropping to 7.6 percent as of August 2015. This rate is nearly the same as the May 2008 rate of 7.4 percent, just before the global financial crisis. The unemployment rate in Long Beach reached a peak of 14.6 percent in July 2010, and has dropped steadily since that time. Total employment in Long Beach has grown by 19,500 new payroll jobs since July 2010 and now stands at 223,000, as of August 2015.
“Our economy keeps on getting stronger and stronger because we’ve taken a holistic approach to economic development,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. “Employers benefit from our low-cost business license tax rate structure, as well as streamlined and improved city services. Long Beach is also making it easier for businesses to find, train, and retain qualified employees.”
The March adoption of the City’s Long Range Property Management Plan (LRPMP) is expected to spark further economic activity. The LRPMP provides a framework for disposing real property of the former Long Beach Redevelopment Agency (RDA). Selling the properties enables future investment and development opportunities that help to bolster the local economy.
To date, 30 properties are in escrow with some to close by the end of September. Another 15 properties are being marketed, and eight of those have offers pending. In addition, the City will release Request For Proposals (RFPs) for the development of several parcels that have been assembled to form larger sites.
“Since the approval of the LRPMP in March, the sales of properties valued in excess of $14 million have been authorized,” said Michael Conway, Director of Economic and Property Development. “The sales serve as a strong catalyst for additional investment and development in our City. These activities are sure to create a multitude of permanent and temporary jobs.”
Other significant economic activity in Long Beach includes a $53-million, seven-story residential-retail complex coming to Broadway and Pacific Avenue at the site of the former State Office Building; a $70 million, 17-story apartment tower set to open in early 2016 on Ocean Boulevard and Lime Avenue; and the ongoing transformation of The Pike at Rainbow Harbor into The Pike Outlets, with Nike, H&M, Forever 21, Gap and Converse outlet stores, joining an expanded Restoration Hardware outlet.
Economic activity in Long Beach continues to grow along with the number of jobs in recent years, especially in Douglas Park, a highly successful mixed-use business district that was formerly the site of aircraft manufacturing. Recent activity includes:
· The grand opening of Virgin Galactic, a manufacturing facility for the LauncherOne satellite vehicle, in April 2015.
· Completion of the Mercedes-Benz one million square foot facility in June 2015, which is believed to be the largest industrial lease in the Los Angeles area in the last 25 years.
· The Universal Technical Institute expanding into Long Beach, with a new 138,000 square foot campus currently under construction.
The City of Long Beach continues to support local economic development with a range of programs and tools. The City’s Business Assistance Team is committed to helping local businesses meet the challenge of finding, training, and retaining qualified employees. Hundreds of local businesses have worked with Pacific Gateway, the City’s Workforce Development Agency, to reap the benefits of hiring tax credits, recruitment services, and training. Additional tools include:
· Business Assistance and Workforce Development
· Small Business Development
· Low Cost City Business License Tax Structure
· Financial Assistance
· Business Improvement Districts
· Improved Permitting and Inspection Services
· Administrative Use Permits and Conditional Use Permits
· Downtown Plan
· Business Services Bureau
· Competitively Priced Utilities
· A central point of contact that can help businesses access City services, and guide them through the planning and permitting process.
For more information, please contact Business Ombudsman Seyed Jalali at Seyed.Jalali@longbeach.gov or 562.570.6172.