Despite L.A.'s wide gap between rich and poor, sky-high rents and impossible housing prices, the local economy has its strengths, especially when compared with other American cities.
The personal-finance site WalletHub recently looked at data from 350 U.S. cities to come up with a list of “2015’s Cities With the Most & Least Diversified Economies.”
“Economic diversity,” a site spokesman said, has been “proven to increase a city’s productivity and boost its economic growth.” The site states that “greater professional diversity increases a city’s productivity” and hedges a region's bets when recessions strike.
For example, the L.A. region's heavy reliance on airplane manufacturing and aerospace bit us in the ass in the 1980s and '90s when many companies in that sector closed up shop locally, putting tens of thousands of middle-class employees out of work.
The lesson is, as WalletHub notes, don't put all your eggs in one basket.
Luckily, Inglewood ranked first in the nation in economic diversity, WalletHub found. Its strongest point was industry diversity, with the educational services, and health care and social assistance dominating that town's employment.
The site rep noted that Inglewood wasn't the only local winner:
In the top 30 cities with the most diversified economies, the Los Angeles metro area is represented by eight … : Inglewood, El Monte, Oxnard, East Los Angeles, Palmdale, Downey, Fontana and Pomona.
In fact, he might have missed a few: Jurupa Valley, in Riverside County, made No. 3 on the list; Ontario made No. 7; and Rialto rounded out the top 10.
El Monte, in the San Gabriel Valley, ranked second nationwide, according to the WalletHub list. Its strengths include industry diversity and occupational diversity, the site said.
Oxnard ranked first in the nation in occupational diversity. East Los Angeles ranked 12th in industry diversity (educational services, health care and social assistance). Pomona ranked 11th in occupational diversity.
The City of Los Angeles proper ranked 35th out of 350.
“Diversification helps an economy the way that it protects an investor’s portfolio,” WalletHub says. “Within a certain time period, job gains in some sectors will offset the losses in others.”
Amen to that.