Larger Role for L.A. Seen in High-Tech : To Lead Major Cities in New Jobs Over a Decade, Study Finds

Times Staff Writer

Silicon Valley may be famous as the center of high-technology, but it’s Los Angeles that will lead major cities in number of new high-tech jobs created through the next decade, says a study of technical employment released today by the DeVry Institute of Technology.

Those in search of employment, however, may have a better chance in health care, which is projected to have a higher demand for new employees than the high-tech industry.

Those were among the major findings in a study conducted by Data Resources Inc., a Lexington, Mass., research firm, for DeVry Institute of Technology in the City of Industry.

In the study of 21 cities, San Jose was ranked 12 on the basis of total number of high-tech jobs that will be created. But in San Jose, heart of the Silicon Valley, the annual rate of high-tech job growth will continue to outpace most other cities.

Openings to Increase

In the Los Angeles area, according to the Data Resources study, job openings for electronics and electrical technicians will increase 6,620 by 1995, computer programmers by 6,160 and computer analysts by 6,500. As a result, Los Angeles will account for nearly 25% of the 79,450 jobs expected to be generated in those three categories throughout the Pacific region of California, Oregon and Washington.


“Technology will continue to have a significant impact on employment opportunities in the Los Angeles area,” said Paul R. McGuirk, president of DeVry, a proprietary technical school. “Business opportunities are growing here and thousands of jobs will be created.”

A spokesman for the Los Angeles Employment Data and Research division of the California Employment Development Department, however, was less optimistic.

She said although the agency has not issued job forecasts for Los Angeles County, the DeVry projections were far more optimistic than recent forecasts issued for Orange County, which is considered the center of high-technology in Southern California.

In Orange County, electronics and electrical-technicians job openings were projected to grow 42.4% to 8,083 in 1990 from 5,677 in 1980--or about 4% a year. Openings for computer specialists were forecast to grow 59% to 8,066 from 5,049 during the period.

“There will be moderate growth in (high-tech jobs in) Los Angeles” due largely to short-term increases in hiring in the aerospace industry, the Employment Department spokeswoman said.

What’s more, even if Los Angeles does experience rapid high-tech job growth, it still has a lot of ground to make up to surpass Santa Clara County in Silicon Valley: As of June, 1984, Santa Clara County led the nation with 245,000 electronics and information-technology jobs, according to the Palo Alto-based American Electronics Assn., compared to 152,000 for Los Angeles County.