SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Beginning on the
afternoon of April 29, 1992 and for the next three days, Los Angeles
County was an area in turmoil.The verdict in the Rodney king trial
generated an immediate response in the form of riots, looting
Immediately after the civil unrest, the Employment Development
Department (EDD) began an effort to assess the extent of the damage
to businesses and the loss of jobs in the area. This report is
a summary of EDD's findings following several months of research.
The report is divided into four sections. The first part gives
an overview of trends in the Los Angeles Couny labor market in
the period leading up to the civil unrest. This is followed by
a summary of 1990 census data for the areas affected by the civil
unrest and a discussion of an employer survey conducted by EDD
following the civil unrest. The final section provides estimates
of the long-term direct effect on employment caused by the unrest.
The following is a brief summary of the findings of this report.
- In the months preceding the civil
unrest of April 1992, the Los Angeles labor market was experiencing
one of the most severe recessions of the post-war era. Between
April of 1991 and 1992 alone, 108,000 local jobs were eliminated
and the April 1992 wage and-salary employment total was estimated
to be at the 1987 level. Included in this job loss were many important
manufacturing jobs--46,200 since April of 1991, and 141,200 since
1987. Manufacturing jobs have traditionally been a mainstay for
workers in the communities affected by the unrest.
- An examination of 1990 census data
indicates that for nearly all standard -of-living indicators,
residents within the areas of the civil unrest were more disadvantaged
on average than residents in the rest of the county.In 10 of the
communities in the civil-unrest area (including areas within the
City of Los Angeles as well as other city and unincorporated areas
of Los Angeles County) the percent of the residents that were
either Black or Hispanic exceeded 80 percent. These communities,
taken together, had a population of 1,156,209 (of which 92.5 percent
was either Black or Hispanic), and contained 83 percent of the
850 buildings severely damaged or destroyed during the unrest.
The residents of these communities, as a whole, had the following
characteristi cs: 29.7 percent were in poverty, 21.1 percent were
receiving public assistance , over 13 percent of all workers were
unemployed, nearly 30 percent of persons 25 years and over had
an eighth-grade education or less, and one-half had not completed
high school. These statistics were nearly double the same statistic
s,for residents in the rest of the county. In addition, working-age
residents of these communities were much less likely to be in
the labor force. Of males 16 years and over, 38.2 percent were
not working, compared to 27.3 percent in other areas within the
county. Of persons aged 16 to 19 years, 20.4 percent were not
in school and not working, compared to 1 1.8 percent in the remainder
of the county.
- In July 1992, EDD conducted a survey
that included 54,416 employers located within the area most affected
by the civil unrest. The survey asked employers questions concerning
the effects of the civil unrest on their businesses, and whether
they needed special assistance from government agencies. A total
of 17,355 responses were reviewed by EDD. Among those iresponding,
2,095 employers requested assistance in matters ranging from help
in obtaining business loans and tax-credits to help in publicizing
that they were still open. These requests were forwarded to the
appropriate agencies that were cooperating in the effort to provide
assistance to firms hurt during the unrest.
- Using various data sources, including
a portion of the survey results, EDD has estimated that the potential
long-term job loss as a result of the civil unrest totaled 11,500.
Related annual wages lost were estimated at $240 million.
Analysis of the 1992 Los Angeles Civil Unrest
Continue to Trends in the Labor Market
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