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Los Angeles Still Poster City for Low-Paying Jobs

Updated on January 11, 2017
Low wage jobs in stark contrast to incredibly wealthy Hollywood stars living in social and economic bubbles.
Low wage jobs in stark contrast to incredibly wealthy Hollywood stars living in social and economic bubbles. | Source

Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the United States, is also home to the most low-paying jobs in the country. The city’s lousy pay status would not seem so odd if Angelenos fared as poorly in educational achievement. Conversely, the percentage of high school graduates is significantly higher than the percentage of jobs that require a diploma.

Los Angeles has fewer decent paying jobs per capita than most American metropolises.

The latest figures on Los Angeles County residents’ educational attainment show that in spite of less than stellar educational performance, there are plenty of entry-level, low paying jobs for all. About 21% of residents over the age of 25 have earned a high school diploma but no college, and another 22% of that demographic don’t have a high school diploma. Interestingly, according to the survey, 29.7% of available jobs require no more than a high school degree and about 34.6% don’t even require that much education to start. Nevertheless, while there are plenty of jobs, the average worker would probably have to work 12,000 years to match the annual income of Hollywood megastars like Meryl Streep. Recently, during her Golden Globes Lifetime Achievement Award acceptance speech, the aging actress used that platform to trash President-elect Trump instead of thanking local laborers who built sets and applied her makeup along the journey to stardom. She even managed to trash people for being Republicans, an apparently “deplorable” lot in her view of which more than a few million likely invested in her movies.

Over regulation and high taxes to blame

But I digress. While the ongoing crummy job syndrome in Los Angeles may have more to do with over regulation and the relocation of industry to more tax-friendly states and countries, LA residents are academically over credentialed for the vast majority of low-paying gigs readily available. According to the Los Angeles Times, the median wage for all occupations in the county last year was $39,250, and for many of the occupations that are growing most quickly, it’s a lot lower than that: $28,101 in sales, $27,019 in maintenance, $21,653 in food preparation and serving. Hopefully this kind of backwards progression in LA County doesn’t ultimately merge entry-level pay and median wage jobs into one crummy average pay rate.

California is essentially a single party state

Like most of Californians, most Angelenos voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton as they were instructed to do by just about every Hollywood actor and actress that made over $20 million last year. Ironically, the lousy low-paying job market in Los Angeles has got worse not better after eight years of the Obama administration, who was supported by Streep and about 97.9% of Hollywood stars. Meanwhile, many political pundits on both sides are scratching their heads over the volume of vitriolic anti-Trump hate speech coming from the Streep’s ilk who otherwise shimmer about in well insulated Hollywood social bubbles inside mansions maintained by workers earning meager wages when they’re not flying around the world choking seagulls with their jet fumes.

Government control of minimum wage rate not the answer

Raising minimum wages (an issue that Hollywood passionately supports) might make burger flipping a bit more profitable, but such governmental interference in local economies is clearly not the answer to the growing exodus of high-paying jobs from the community. Until Los Angeles becomes more corporate friendly, residents may have to cut back on movie nights and wait for the trickle-down economics of Hollywood stars to lift them up.

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