The war in Iraq, an epidemic scare and the state budget crisis had
little effect on the local economy during the first quarter of 2003,
according to the city’s economic profile.
The report, a quarterly analysis of Burbank’s economic health
prepared by the Community Development Department, examined a variety
of indicators, including unemployment rates, travel, real estate
sales, and parking, occupancy and sales tax revenues.
“Based on the figures, Burbank does seem to be faring pretty well
compared to other cities,” said Ross Young, an administrative
assistant who prepared the report.
Burbank’s unemployment rate has steadily declined since reaching
4.6% in January, and remains lower than that of Glendale (6%) and the
nation (6%), the report states.
Airline travel at the Burbank- Glendale-Pasadena Airport remained
consistent during the first three months of 2003, despite the
mid-March start of Operation Iraqi Freedom. More passengers traveled
in March than in January or February, according to the report.
Transient-parking tax revenue, which soared during 2002, waned
between January and March because increased competition reduced
customer costs, officials said.
“It wasn’t the greatest first quarter of the year,” said Jack
Kyser, chief economist for the L.A. County Economic Development Corp.
“But Burbank is doing better than most other communities because of
diversity and savvy business decisions [made by city officials].”
Although the bulk of the city’s economic vitality comes from the
entertainment industry, Community Development Director Sue Georgino
said strong retail sales at Burbank Empire Center has contributed
heavily to the city’s sales-tax base.
“Value-oriented retail does well in declining economies,” Georgino
Although sales tax figures jumped 10.5% in the fourth quarter of
2002, no figures for the first quarter of 2003 were included in the
That combination, Kyser said, kept Burbank’s unemployment rate
According to the report, the real estate market “continues to be
very strong,” in part because 84 single-family homes were sold in
March. Commercial vacancy rates for the first quarter of this year
were not included in the report.