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Economic Footprint of Unions in Los Angeles
Prepared for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO (LACFL).

BY: DANIEL FLAMING, ECONOMIC ROUNDTABLE

December 2007, 14 pages available in PDF

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Union members make up roughly 15 percent of LA's labor force. The economic context for unions in Los Angeles is a formal labor market that has been stagnant since 1990, with all net job growth occurring in the informal economy. More than a quarter of the labor force is impoverished. Per capita income in Los Angeles County is below the state average and growing more slowly than in either the state or the nation.

The estimated average annual earnings of Los Angeles union members in 2007 is $41,682. Union workers earn an average of 27 percent more than non-union workers in the same occupation. In 2007 the earnings of Los Angeles union members exceed the earnings of their non-union counterparts in the same occupations by:

  • $3 billion for 337,798 workers with contracts ending in 2008
  • $7.2 billion for all 818,633 union workers

The wages earned by LA's union workers are estimated to total $34 billion in 2007. The expenditure of these earnings is stimulating:

  • $51 billion in total sales
  • Creation of 307,100 jobs; 64,800 more jobs than would be created if these workers did not earn union wages
  • $7 billion in taxes to all levels of government

The network of economic activity that relies on LA's 818,633 union workers encompasses roughly 30 percent of the county economy, including:

  • 1.6 million workers, or 30 percent of all jobs, including self-employed workers
  • $34 billion in employee compensation, or 31 percent of all wages earned by employees
  • $29 billion in income to business owners, or 28 percent of all owner income
  • $113 billion in economic output, or 28 percent of LA County's total output
  • $68 billion in added value created with LA County, or 29 percent of all value added activity
  • $32 billion dollars in tax payments in 2007, including $20 billion to the federal government and $12 billion to state and local government.

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