Can Barbie save us from the incredible, persistent 12 percent to 14 percent unemployment that has ravaged Los Angeles city and county?

The folks over at Mattel are doing something right — gobbling up successful stuff like World Wrestling Entertainment. Now, they're reporting a key turnaround in their business health, according to City News Service.

EL SEGUNDO (CNS) – Mattel Inc. today reported net income of $24.8 million, or 7 cents per share, compared to last year's first quarter net loss of $51 million, or 14 cents per share.  “I am pleased with the performance across our portfolio of brands, including our core brands and our licensed evergreen brands, especially our newest properties World Wrestling Entertainment, Thomas and Friends, and Toy Story,'' said Robert A. Eckert, chairman and CEO  of the El Segundo-based toymaker.

Barbie also sold well, pulling in the little girls with mommy's money in their pockets. Here's why this matters in a depressing, tattered, unkempt city like Los Angeles, with its broken sidewalks and illegal billboard clutter:

Call it the Barbie Barometer. If a huge company like Mattel is growing stronger, with a rare name brand that is still strongly connected to Southern California and not to Silicon Valley or Manhattan, it gives the whole region a slight and welcome push forward.

Most large corporations and manufacturers have fled the area, with some even moving just outside the Los Angeles City limits to avoid its bizarre business tax structure and a badly confused City Hall that thinks condo construction and land speculation equals economic vibrance.

So, Bravo Barbie.

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