Supervisor Janice Hahn joined the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation CEO Bill Allen, officials from AltaSea, and entrepreneurs from new ocean tech companies to announce that the “blue economy” or “ocean economy” would become an official economic sector tracked in LA County.
According to a report released today compiled by the LAEDC and AltaSea at the Port of LA, 117,000 workers are directly employed in the region’s ocean economy in LA County, with an additional 82,500 jobs sustained by the industry. The report: The Ocean Economy in Los Angeles County, was sponsored by LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn’s office and released by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) and prepared in collaboration with AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles. Based on the industry’s significant regional economic contribution, the LAEDC took the rare step, upon the report’s release, to add the “Ocean Economy” as a Southern California-based industry cluster that it will formally monitor, benchmark and track going forward; much like the LAEDC does for the region’s more well-known industries such as aerospace and digital media entertainment.
The “ocean economy” is a large sector in LA County in terms of jobs. In fact, if the “ocean economy” had been included in the most recent jobs report, it would have ranked 9th in jobs behind manufacturing and ahead of Information Technology.
Supervisor Hahn made today’s announcement at the Burton Chase Park Boathouse in Marina del Rey. There, she got to operate an underwater drone created here in LA County by Blue Robotics – a startup based at AltaSea.
The report also found that:
California’s Ocean Economy supports 1.035 million jobs (direct, indirect and induced), or roughly seven percent (7%) of the state’s total workforce, and over $53 billion in total labor income. (2018)
LA County’s Ocean Economy supports 200,400 total jobs (direct, indirect and induced), produced over $34 billion in regional output, added $20 billion to the gross county product, yielded over $12 billion in labor income, and generated $1.7 billion in local taxes. (2018)
The marine transportation and tourism sectors, which employ 52,070 and 57,270 workers, respectively, in LA County, are the industry’s largest local employment contributors. (2018)
LA County’s Ocean Economy is forecast to grow significantly, directly employing 126,000 workers by 2023 and generating $80.1 billion in regional output, $49.8 billion in additional gross county product and $69.2 billion in personal income over the five-year period between 2019 and 2023.
Globally, the Ocean Economy is projected by the OECD to double to $3 trillion over the next decade.
The LAEDC report also highlights the growing economic, environmental and equity importance of the LA region’s emerging marine-based biotechnology, conservation, renewable and high-tech sectors, which the LAEDC projects will be significant drivers of future job, venture capital and wage growth over the five-year study period. By levering the LA region’s existing applied research concentrations and pronounced productive advantages over other economic regions and nations, the report concludes that LA is “well-positioned” to become a world leader in the development of marine-based solutions to address global climate change, health and water conservation challenges.
“The newly-designated ‘Ocean Economy’ is a strong and growing sector of our economy in LA County,” said LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn. “Over the next decade we’re going to see more jobs at our ports, in aquaculture, in ocean exploration, and in ocean technology we haven’t even thought of yet.”
The report also makes some policy and program recommendations for further building on the region’s organic strengths in this industry. Key suggestions include: invest in industry-driven workforce training programs that can respond in real-time to the fast-changing labor market needs of this industry; advocate for economic and workforce development incentives and programs that support emerging ocean industries; ease regulatory barriers for sustainable aquaculture; promote marine-based renewable energy solutions; and implement local waterfront revitalization and preservation programs that achieve the co-equal goals of to combat sea level rise and to promote sustainable economic development.
“This report is not just data,” said Supervisor Hahn. “It is a road map with recommendations the County can pursue with the LAEDC, AltaSea and emerging blue economy leaders – driving science-based understanding of the ocean, incubating and sustaining ocean-related businesses, and pioneering new ocean-related education programs for communities and entrepreneurs alike. This is just the beginning.”
Submitted by Liz Odendahl