Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Following a year in which homelessness became the focus of attention and city leaders adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage, Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to highlight the Los Angeles’s growing job numbers in his State of the City address Thursday.

Garcetti will deliver his speech at the factory of LED maker Noribachi, a Los Angeles-based business that moved from New Mexico in 2012 and was recently named among the city’s most promising companies by Forbes magazine.

The company’s story was features in one of two videos about the economy and jobs posted recently on the mayor’s Facebook page and billed as teasers to his state of the city address. The other video includes a testimonial from an 18-year-old Los Angeles resident who found a job through the city’s youth employment program.

In recent weeks, Garcetti has also touted the 109,000 jobs that were added since he took office in 2013, and the city’s latest 5.8 percent unemployment rate, which is half of what it was in 2012, during the height of the recession.

Garcetti will also likely talk up the city’s efforts to make it less cumbersome for businesses to operate in Los Angeles, such as the introduction of an expedited building permit approval process and upgrades in online systems for prospective city contractors.

The attention to job creation comes following a year in which the City Council adopted a $15 per hour minimum wage hike amid worries by business leaders that the measure would lead to workers losing their jobs.

In addition to the jobs discussion, Garcetti’s state of the city speech will likely need to touch on the city’s crime rate, which went up for the first time in more than a decade last year, and is still going up this year.

The ongoing issue of homelessness will likely be another necessary topic, with city officials spending much of the past year talking about their efforts in putting together a comprehensive plan for reducing homelessness.

The issue of where the city will come up with the funding needed to address the homelessness — which ultimately requires that more affordable housing to be created to house the homeless and others on the verge of living on the streets — has yet to be decided, though the mayor is expected to provide an answer in his budget proposal that’s set to be released later this month.

—City News Service

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