Chamber Survey Shows Top Employers

Times Staff Writer

Southern California’s major employers are governmental agencies, aerospace firms, telephone companies and educational institutions, according to a study released Monday by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

“We are frequently asked, ‘Who are your largest employers,’ and there isn’t any information of that sort that we can find,” chamber economist Jack Kyser said. “We really needed something to give us a better feeling for who is doing what.”

The study “points out that high tech is very important to us and that the universities are very important to us,” Kyser said.

In doing the study, which took nearly eight months to complete, the chamber surveyed employers in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties. The list of 304 companies with more than 1,000 employees includes some firms that are not based in Southern California and that employ people at multiple work sites in the area.


Los Angeles County is the biggest employer in the five-county area, with 74,032 people receiving county paychecks. The City of Los Angeles was sixth with 34,909 employees.

Hughes Aircraft is the area’s second-largest employer, with a work force of 65,704.

Other aerospace firms ranked high on the list. Among the top 20 employers were Rockwell International, fourth, with 46,000 employees; McDonnell Douglas, fifth, with 37,446 employees; Northrop, seventh, with 30,125 employees; TRW, 11th, with 23,000 employees, and Lockheed, 12th, with 20,302 employees.

Education also scored high in the employment survey. The Los Angeles Unified School was third with 57,217 employees, UCLA ranked 10th with 23,355 employees and USC was 21st with 14,000 employees.


Pacific Bell took the eighth spot, employing 30,000 people. General Telephone followed in ninth place with 24,000 employees.

Rounding out the top 20 were: Bank of America, 20,000 employees; Security Pacific, 17,000 employees; W. R. Grace & Co., 15,760 employees; Kaiser Permanente, 15,100 employees; the Broadway, 15,000 employees; Southern California Edison, 14,318 employees; Kelly Services, 14,263 employees, and First Interstate, 14,140 employees.

Kyser said he was surprised by the size of the work force employed by W. R. Grace in its area chemical operations, restaurants and home improvement centers. “We knew they were big, but we didn’t know they were that big,” he said.

The number of people employed by Kelly Services also was unexpectedly large, illustrating the fast growth of companies that supply temporary employees.


The Top Employers Listed are the top 10 employers in the Los Angeles area and the number of workers.

Los Angeles County 74,032 Hughes Aircraft 65,704 L.A. Unified School District 57,217 Rockwell International 46,000 McDonnell Douglas 37,446 City of Los Angeles 34,909 Northrop 30,125 Pacific Bell 30,000 General Tel of Calif. 24,000 UCLA 23,355

Source: L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce.