Shan Li
February 17, 2016

Employers in Los Angeles and the rest of California will keep hiring in the next two years but at a slightly slower pace than in 2015, a new report said.

The state is poised to add more than 650,000 jobs this year and next, pushing down the current 7% unemployment rate to about 5.9% by 2017, according to an annual forecast released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

After climbing 3% in 2015, nonfarm jobs are expected to rise 2.4% this year and 1.6% in 2017, the report said. The slower pace of growth will also be reflected in the United States overall, and is a natural slowdown more than six years after the Great Recession ended, said Robert Kleinhenz, the group’s chief economist.

“The California economy will continue to add jobs at a faster pace than the nation,” Kleinhenz said. “Both will see slower job growth in 2016 than they have seen in the last couple of years.”

The flip side of slower hiring is that workers will see their hours increase and more people will find full-time work instead of part-time jobs, Kleinhenz said. “That also translates into sort of less-outright job growth,” he added.

In 2015, Los Angeles County added 96,700 jobs, an annual growth rate of 2.2%. Its unemployment rate was 6.7%, lagging behind some other counties such as Orange County, which had a jobless rate of 4.4%, and San Diego County, which had a rate of 5.1%.

Now that Los Angeles County is back to a point that economists consider full employment, wage growth should follow, the report said. Per capita income is forecast to rise 3.9% this year and 4.9% in 2017, up from 3.6% in 2015.

The county’s major industries are expected to enjoy gains.

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