According to records released this week, average employee pay at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power rose 15% over the past few years despite the national economic slump.
DWP workers generally receive more generous pay raises than other city workers. Household income for LA residents fell from $48,882 to $46,148 over a similar period. DWP pay rose from $88,299 to $101,237.
The LA Times explains that “DWP compensation has become a central issue in the May 21 mayoral election, in which there has been much debate over whether the city’s labor contracts are too costly given the fiscal problems that have resulted in major cuts in services.
“The union representing most of the DWP’s workers has become the single biggest source of campaign cash in the race, giving $1.45 million to an independent effort backing City Controller Wendy Greuel.
“The only pay growth comparable to the DWP came at the city Fire Department, where average total salary and other payments also rose 15% over the five years to $132,131. But officials note that about 300 positions were cut from the Fire Department in that period, which required increased overtime payments to fill positions.”
San Diego’s economy seems to be on the rise thanks to a growing construction agency and a steadily improving job market.
Alan Gin, an economist from the University of San Diego, collected the information for the San Diego region’s index of leading economic indicators, which rose almost a full point last month. He explained that the change resulted from a boost in multi-family building permits and less first-time unemployment claims. The economic recovery is expected to continue throughout the area.
“I think we’ll have a good job growth,” Gin said. “I think the housing market will continue to be strong. And as a result, I think the unemployment rate is going to drop locally. It’s already down to about 8 percent.”
The only indicator that fell over the past month, according to Gin, was consumer confidence. He postulates that the decrease is a result of rising gas prices, new payroll taxes and political gridlock.
According to a recent survey, U.S. small businesses have created 55,000 jobs this month, though employees worked less hours and earned smaller amounts of money. Based on responses from around 71,000 small businesses, the survey covered the period between October 24th and November 23rd.
Payrolls processing company Intuit said the small business employment rise in November compared to October’s revised 60,000 count, which was reported previously as a 30,000 gain.
The average work week for such employees dropped 0.3% to 24.9 hours, and the average monthly salary fell 0.18%, to $2,637.
“Total comparison is down, part time workers aren’t getting as many hours, and there are fewer hourly employees who are working full time,” explained Susan Woodward, an economist involved in the survey’s development.
“Overall, this data is the best we could hope for given the uncertainty of the situation in Europe.”