11/30/07

Expert: Impact of writers' strike overestimated

The economic impact by a protracted Hollywood writers' strike was far less than some early estimates, an economist said yesterday.

Jerry Nickelsburg, an economist at the Anderson Forecast of the University of California in Los Angeles, said the strike would have a 380-million-dollar impact on the Los Angeles economy, far less than some early estimates of $1 billion.

He said initial estimates of the strike's impact were "grossly inflated." The walkout would have a roughly $380 million economic impact, even if the strike were to last through the end of March - roughly as long as the 1988 strike. "Virtually everywhere in the media, in City Hall and in Sacramento, this greater than 1-billion-dollar economic impact is taken as fact," Nickelsburg said.

"But what is behind it and how much faith can we put in this number? Is there a serious public issue for the Los Angeles economy worthy of governmental intervention? As it turns out, a close examination of the economic dynamics of the 2007 WGA (Writers Guild of America) strike suggests a much more modest and transitory impact on the Los Angeles economy," he said. "The impact, even if the strike runs as long as the record 1988 strike, will be about one-third or less of the currently accepted 1-billion-dollar estimate."

Representatives for the WGA as well as television and film producers were negotiating for a fourth consecutive day Thursday in hopes of ending the strike, which began on Nov. 5.

The union is pushing for writers to be paid for work distributed via the Internet, video iPods, cellphones and other new media.

(english.eastday.com)

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