Like many regions and cities across the United States, Los Angeles has gone through challenging times over the past two years. Thankfully, because of its geographical size and diverse economy, the city has weathered the economic slowdown quite well.
Demographics have also played a vital role in strengthening the economy: There is a growing population of young people becoming more active in the workplace and starting their own businesses.
To guide this new crop of entrepreneurs and business leaders, Mari Miyoshi wants to play a new role as mentor. Miyoshi, who also heads Sumitomo Realty & Development USA, is the newest chairperson of the Japan America Society of Southern California.
“This is my new mission and commitment over the past two years. I want change to happen and give this chance to the younger generation, who will serve as a bridge. Yes, older people may have more experiences, but the youth has the motivation and dedication. I want to bring those together,” Miyoshi explained.
“We have more essential jobs than any county and in the country. And almost 64% of the region’s jobs are considered essential. Because we are one of the most diverse economies in the U.S., we have several legs of the stool to stand on. Kern County is considered the population center of California and is a four-hour drive from 40 million consumers. And we’re very excited about the levels of new investment coming in,” said Kern Economic Development Corp. President and CEO Richard Chapman.
Because the headquarters of SpaceX is located in Hawthorne, in southern Los Angeles County, there has been rapid growth in the aerospace, defense and space exploration industries. Another industry cluster that has shown robust growth is biotechnology, bioscience and life sciences, prompting county officials to prioritize those sectors over the next five years.
Meanwhile, some companies have moved to other states in search of lower operating costs. But there also are many companies that have returned to Southern California, realizing that lower costs don’t necessarily result in greater efficiency.
“When companies grow to a certain size, some will look for cheaper places to operate. We explain to our clients and potential customers that while cheaper is cheaper, cheaper is not always better. There’s a reason why so many companies have already selected LA. We have great assets, including the top two container ports in North America. That makes transporting goods and products more efficient,” said Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation COO Stephen Cheung.
Aside from accessibility and connectivity, companies have returned to take advantage of the top talent and abundant resources in the region. Today, cities and towns in Southern California have stepped up their efforts to promote themselves as affordable, convenient and ideal places to live and work.
“We’ve always had a tremendously strong relationship with Japan. That has made San Diego a better place. I hope our talent and technology has also made Japan better. After the last two years, we’re looking to build new partnerships and renew old ones. As we continue to tackle various global problems, we can do it better when we work together. We can form good international partnerships focused on our talent pipeline, infrastructure and housing,” said Nikia Clarke, executive director of San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. World Trade Center San Diego.
With pandemic restrictions easing, a growing number of cities and towns have intensified their efforts to promote their areas and attract new investment, especially from abroad.
“We are constantly meeting with new businesses and new delegations, inviting them to see what we have to offer. As one of the safest, greenest, and highly educated cities, we have the ingredients to help businesses succeed. You have to come here, experience the city for yourself. We are always open to hosting people. Reach out, let us know what you need, and we’ll make it happen,” said Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan.
Aliso Viejo in Orange County is among those cities starting to grab the attention of international investors.
“Foreign direct investment is important to our city to keep our economy growing. We have a great base of businesses and foreign companies that is interested in investing in our city because of the great things and the innovation that is happening in this area. Our priority is to maintain a healthy and steady source of funding to ensure the best quality of life for our residents,” said Aliso Viejo City Manager David Doyle.