Filming, permits helps help improve jobs picture

The return of episodic television will be a big help for Santa Clarita’s economy as it continues to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. PHOTO COURTESY CITY OF SANTA CLARITA

While countywide and in Santa Clarita, the unemployment numbers are still at historic highs, city officials are already seeing signs of improvement, encouraged by the return of filming, among other areas.

For Los Angeles County, the unemployment rate remains at nearly 17% (16.6), while the rate dropped another point locally to 15.3% in Santa Clarita, still about 3% better than neighboring Lancaster and Palmdale.

For comparison, in Los Angeles County, it was a little below 5% at the same time last year. The California seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.4% in August 2020, 13.5% in July 2020, and 3.9% a year ago in August 2019. The comparable estimates for the nation were 8.4% in August 2020, 10.2% in July 2020, and 3.7% a year ago.

“Each month, we’re getting a little better than the bottom in April,” said Jason Crawford, economic development manager for the city of Santa Clarita, referring to the worst rates during the crisis, when unemployment was at its historic high above 20%. “It’s obviously still much higher unemployment than we’re used to seeing in our community due to the COVID-19 crisis. But it is slowly and steadily improving, and we’re seeing more residents going back to work.”

Traditionally, filming has played a large role in the city’s local economy, as it does for the region, so it’s no surprise that the return of filming in Los Angeles County was immediately felt in Santa Clarita.

Just last week for example, episodic television, which is the city’s most lucrative draw in terms of revenue for local businesses because of the multiple days of shooting that required — saw a few familiar names get the cameras rolling again at the first opportunity, such as long-running locally filmed programs as “SWAT,” “Goliath” and “NCIS,” according to the city’s Film Office.

Due to a nearly six-month hiatus, it’s unlikely that 2020 will come close to the previous record-setting year for Santa Clarita, when the city recorded 576 film permits and 1,490 location film days, generating an estimated $35.9 million impact — which was another big gain over the previous year.

“We’ve got several of our TV shows back,” said Crawford. “As far as filming, there has been a lot of positive momentum from the film industry here. We’re seeing multiple productions filming around town daily, movies, TV, commercials … .”

Crawford also pointed out the city has been working hard to help businesses work to stay open under Public Health’s restrictions, where it can. He said the city’s permit program has been working as fast as a 24-hour turnaround, and that the goal is to work with the business owners to accommodate as much as Public Health deems allowable in using outdoor space.

“We just need to see a site plan that shows where the activity is going to take place, and that it’s going to be done in a safe way and won’t infringe upon traffic, for example,” Crawford added. “But by far, most of (the permits sought) are issued.”

Countywide, the leisure and hospitality sector reported the largest month-over job decline, down 11,800, according to the Economic Development Division. Arts, entertainment and recreation accounted for the majority of the job loss, dropping 8,400 jobs that were mostly in amusement, gambling and recreation.

Accommodation and food services reported a reduction of 3,400 jobs, all of which were in food services and drinking places (down 4,200), but offset by a slight gain of 800 jobs in accommodation. 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS