PRESS RELEASE

City of Long Beach 
Public Information Office
333 W. Ocean Blvd, 
Long Beach, CA 90802

1/31/2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEPress Release # CM: 013117
Subject:
Business Services Improve, Unemployment Declines
Contact:
John Keisler
Director of Economic and Property Development
562.570.5282
John.Keisler@longbeach.gov




The unemployment rate in Long Beach declined from 6.2 percent in 2015 to 5.2 percent in 2016, and the median number of days it took to issue a business license declined 29 percent, from 24 days in 2015 to 17 days in 2016.

“The Long Beach economy is growing thanks to national and local investment, entrepreneurs, a strong workforce, and innovations in government,” said Mayor Robert Garcia. "2017 is going to be a great year for more economic growth."

The City’s Innovation Team (i-team) partnered with several City Departments to proactively listen to entrepreneurs’ needs, and work together on solutions. To help entrepreneurs navigate the process of starting a business, the City launched its new business portal, BizPort, in October 2016, which helps clarify, simplify, and provide valuable resources for entrepreneurs. More than 1,465 people used BizPort in the last 30 days and nearly 350 people established accounts to track their progress on the site.

“Long Beach is growing in terms of jobs and business,” said John Keisler, Director of the Department of Economic and Property Development (EPD). “In order to continue to see growth, we must stay competitive and in-tune with entrepreneurs’ needs when developing and delivering business services.”

The unemployment rate in Long Beach reached a peak of 14.6 percent in July 2010, and has dropped steadily since that time. During this time period the City’s Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network provided employment services to 18,500 unemployed and underemployed residents.

Inspector Gadget, an online scheduling system, has transformed the way that commercial and residential property inspections are conducted. More than 87,000 inspections are completed annually. The online system automates maps, schedules and tracks the process of inspections, dramatically increasing efficiency. Since its launch in the summer of 2016, Inspector Gadget has had more than 3,046 requests for inspections.

The mission of the City’s Economic Development Department is to create economic opportunities for workers, investors, and entrepreneurs. This begins with making it easier to start and grow a business, streamline the process for property development, and provide businesses with a skilled workforce. The Department includes Property Development, Business Development, and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network. Follow EPD on Facebook and Twitter @LBEconDev.

In September 2016, the City of Long Beach was named a finalist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation “Most Business Friendly City” in Los Angeles County. In June 2016, the business community itself recognized the City of Long Beach as one of the five most business friendly cities in Los Angeles County, according to the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed), an alliance of 150 business groups representing 272,000 companies that employ nearly 3 million people through the County.

The City of Long Beach is committed to helping local businesses find, train, and retain qualified employees. Hundreds of local businesses have worked with Pacific Gateway, the City’s Workforce Development Agency, to reap the benefits of hiring tax credits, recruitment services, and training.

Additional resources include:

  • Business Assistance and Workforce Development
  • Small Business Development
  • Low Cost City Business License Tax Structure
  • Financial Assistance
  • Business Improvement Districts
  • Improved Permitting and Inspection Services
  • Administrative Use Permits and Conditional Use Permits
  • Downtown Plan
  • Business Services Bureau
  • Competitively Priced Utilities
  • A central point of contact that can help businesses access City services, and guide them through the planning and permitting process.

For more information, please contact Business Ombudsman Seyed Jalali at Seyed.Jalali@longbeach.gov or 562.570.6172.

About the Innovation Team
Launched in 2012, the Innovation Teams Program is one of seven Government Innovation offerings at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Innovation teams (i-teams) function as in-house innovation consultants; helping agency leaders and staff go through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results. The City of Long Beach is one of 20 cities around the world that are participating in the program. Launched in 2015 by Mayor Robert Garcia, Long Beach’s i-team works closely, and supportively, with their colleagues across city government — offering them a different set of tools and techniques to innovate more effectively. In partnership with these colleagues, the Long Beach i-team aims to deeply understand the problem they are trying to solve by building empathy for the people impacted by it and then work quickly and creatively to co-create and test solutions that deliver meaningful results for residents.

Since its inception the Long Beach i-team has attracted approximately $750,000 in outside funding to support economic development initiatives such as the City’s new business portal for entrepreneurs BizPort, the Harvey Milk Park Project, and the Economic Development Blueprint project in partnership with the City’s Economic Development Commission.

For more information on the Long Beach i-team, please visit www.longbeach.gov/iteam or follow them on Twitter @iteam_LongBeach and Facebook.