The UCLA Anderson Forecast has partnered with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to help launch a new online open data portal called DataLA. DataLA serves as an economic health dashboard for the city. The initiative is a priority for the mayor and is aimed at creating transparency and accountability in city government.
“Our new Open Data portal gives residents access to the same information as their elected officials. With this new tool, academics, developers, journalists and anyone with an interest in Los Angeles can access a one-stop treasure trove of information that was previously scattered across city websites if it was available at all.”
- Mayor Eric Garcetti in an official statement for the May 31, 2014 launch.
The web portal contains up-to-date data on everything from jobs and the economy, to public safety, quality of life and government efficiency. As part of the DataLA project, which launched May 31, 2014, UCLA Anderson Forecast economist William Yu worked closely with the mayor’s team to develop the “UCLA Anderson Forecast Los Angeles City Monthly Employment Estimate,” which shows household employment and payroll employment data.
Yu’s work represents a breakthrough for analyzing employment data on the city level and serve as an alternative to commonly-reported figures from the California Economic Development Department (CA EDD), which calculate the city's share of county employment based on ratios from the 2000 Census. As census data becomes more dated over time, these figures become less accurate.
By comparison, UCLA Anderson Forecast examines the dynamic relationship between monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys and Annual Census surveys over time between City and County and adopts an appropriate weighted moving average method to reduce measurement errors. As noted by the Forecast economists:
"Since the UCLA Anderson Forecast adopts newly updated information to estimate the household employment and unemployment rate, we believe that our estimate may better depict the state of the City’s economy than EDD’s number. As an example, in April 2014, EDD released data that shows the City’s non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to be 8.5% ... However, our estimate indicates a lower unemployment rate – 8.2%... In short, we find that the state of the City’s employment is better than EDD’s report suggests."