April 12, 2006 06:00 ET

LAEDC Study Finds Tourism as #1 Export Industry in SoCal Ahead of International Trade and Technologies

"An Export Industry That People Overlook Is Higher Education," Said Chief Economist Jack Kyser, Senior Vice President, Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC)

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- April 12, 2006 -- Tourism emerges as the largest export industry in the Los Angeles five-county area, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. Using a variety of sources, the LAEDC has compiled a tabulation of the largest "export" industries based on jobs for Southern California. An export industry is one that sells a significant share of its goods or services outside of the region, thus bringing new money into the local economy.

"Tourism is the largest export industry in the Los Angeles five-county area with a 2005 annual average employment of 512,600 jobs," said Chief Economist Jack Kyser, study author and senior vice president, LAEDC. "Direct international trade came in second place with an average of 450,100 jobs, while technology was third with an average of 361,400 jobs in 2005. There was a almost a dead heat for fourth place, with business and professional services recording an average of 251,800 jobs, while motion picture and television production posted an average of 251,600 jobs," he said.

The results for the four local metropolitan areas were rather different from the regional ranking.

-- In Los Angeles County, international trade was in first place with a 2005 average of 290,300 jobs, followed by tourism with 263,500 jobs, motion picture & TV production with 241,100 jobs, technology with 207,300 jobs, and business and professional services with an average of 165,100 jobs in 2005.

-- In Orange County, tourism was number one with 132,100 jobs in 2005, followed by technology with 112,200 jobs, business and professional services with 59,600 jobs, wholesale trade/logistics with 53,400 jobs, and health services/bio-medicine with an average of 46,300 jobs in 2005.

-- In the Riverside-San Bernardino area, tourism was also number one, thanks to the combination of the Coachella Valley and Indian gaming, with a 2005 average of 97,100 jobs. Number two was wholesale trade/logistics with 45,800 jobs. Third was health services/bio-medicine with 36,200 jobs, while agriculture/food products manufacturing was fourth with 28,100 jobs. Technology was fifth with a 2005 average of 22,700 jobs.

-- Ventura County's largest industry was agriculture/food products manufacturing with 24,400 jobs, while tourism was number two with average employment of 19,900 people in 2005. Technology ranked third followed by financial services and health services/bio-medicine.

The LAEDC also prepared a largest export industry ranking for San Diego County. Tourism was in first place with a 2005 average of 116,100 jobs, followed by technology with 94,700, business and professional services with a 2005 average of 48,300 jobs, international trade with 45,000 jobs, and wholesale trade/logistics with 36,600 jobs in 2005. The County had 19,300 Department of Defense civilian employees.

"The LAEDC ranking also highlighted an export industry that people overlook, and that is higher education," said Kyser. "The Los Angeles five-county area has four major research universities, plus a number of specialized institutions such as the Art Center College of Design and the Otis College of Design. These certainly qualify as an export industry, as colleges and universities located in Los Angeles attract students from outside the area, from elsewhere in the U.S. and from overseas."

Kyser noted that after graduation, many of the students stay in the area, enriching the talent pool. This "industry" had an average annual employment of 60,300 workers in the five-county area during 2005, with 15,000 more jobs in San Diego County.


The LAEDC, the region's premiere business leadership organization, is a private, non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization established in 1981. Our mission is to attract, retain, and grow business and jobs in Los Angeles County. Since 1995, the LAEDC has helped retain or create more than 100,000 jobs, providing $3.5 billion in annual economic impact from salaries and $65 million in annual tax revenue benefit to Los Angeles County. For more information, please visit

[Editors: For media interviews please call George McQuade or Aida Mayo at MAYO Communications, 818-340-5300 or 818-618-9229. Images available upon request.]

Contact Information