LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The county’s unemployment is down and its economic output is up, but experts say more high-paying jobs are needed to replace those giving way to lower-wage service-sector positions.

Los Angeles County’s gross domestic product grew by 2.2 percent in 2016, down slightly from the 3.6 percent the previous year but ahead of the national rate, according to a report by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. The report further predicted that the county’s GDP would grow by 2.7 percent over the next two years, also higher than the nation.

Unemployment, meanwhile, dipped to 5.1 percent in the county last year, reaching its lowest point since 2007. The LAEDC report estimated the unemployment figure would slowly dip further over the next two years, falling to 4.9 percent before settling at about 5 percent at the end of 2018.

“Job growth has been positive since 2011, averaging 2.0 percent since 2012,” according to the report. “This is expected to slow to 1.5 percent for the next two years as there are fewer jobs needed to be added and as the labor market tightens.”

But, in order to maintain these gains, LAEDC officials noted that the region needs to tackle a growing problem of too many lower-wage, service-sector jobs being created in place of skilled positions that pay higher salaries.

The good–news, bad-news scenario prompted LAEDC to raise more than $1 million in support of a “Strategic Plan for Economic Development,” aimed at creating higher-paying jobs, making the area more business-friendly and preparing the workforce for skilled positions, according to the report.

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