The Biggest Winner During Awards Season? Los Angeles! - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Tony McEwing

The Biggest Winner During Awards Season? Los Angeles!

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A lot of people are talking about who won what at the Grammy Awards, but few are talking about the biggest winner of all. As the entertainment capital of the world, many of the top Hollywood awards programs take place in Los Angeles. Between January and March, hundreds of millions of dollars flow into LA and the surrounding area, pumping up the local economy at a time of year when tourism dollars in much of the rest of the country all but dry up. Make no mistake about it, between the Golden Globes, SAG Awards, Grammys, the Oscars and all the glamour and glitter that go along with them, awards season translates into big business and big bucks.

In fact, the LA Times reports occupancy rates are as much as 10 percentage points higher at hotels here than in other major U.S. cities. But of course, it's not just the hotels that benefit. Food service companies, limousine rentals, grocery stores, shopping malls, amusement parks also reap the rewards. And that just scratches the surface. The entertainment industry is such an integral part of the local economy that the list of businesses and workers who benefit from such a boost is almost incalculable. Indeed, by one estimate, the Academy Awards show alone has an annual economic impact of more than $65 million dollars locally.

The infusion of cash is a much needed one. Although Los Angeles' economy is on the mend, there are still huge challenges. Unemployment in Los Angeles County dropped to 9.2% last month from 9.5% as employers added 1,400 jobs. That's a nice decrease but not nearly enough. LA County's rate is still well above the state average of 8.3% and the national rate of 6.7%. And among some segments of the population in LA, unemployment is still well into the double digits.

And then there's the issue of runaway production. California in general and Los Angeles in particular still suffer from Hollywood productions fleeing the region in droves. It's simply becoming too expensive to shoot stuff here. And unlike states like Louisiana, Georgia and even New York, which have offered lucrative tax incentives to production companies, California has been slow to do anything meaningful to hang on to their business. As a result, the number of production jobs in the state has decreased by 4,500 between 2005 and 2012, at a time when they should have increased by nearly twice that many.

There are signs that some production is beginning to trickle back into the state, but not in the amounts needed to make a real difference. That being the case, it's good to know that awards season is one constant LA can still count on. And the Oscar goes to!

Tony McEwing co-anchors FOX 11 Morning News at 4:30 am and provides news updates for the Emmy award winning Good Day LA, broadcast weekdays from 7:00 - 10:00 am. He also co-anchors the FOX 11 10 am News and the FOX 11 News at Noon.
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