Los Angeles County has 88 cities. Ten million people. Two hundred more languages ​​spoken.

And a nine-letter sign that, for a large part of the world, defines the entire region: HOLLYWOOD.

Los Angeles has long been regarded as the global “company town” for show business, and as a rare actors’ strike upended the signature industry this week, the potential for cascading economic effects across Southern California emerged as a critical local issue. But economists disagree about how widely the simultaneous strikes of actors and writers will be felt.

Even by the most generous estimates, Hollywood has never supported more than about 5 percent of employment in a region where many more people work in business, health care, government and even Southern California’s diminished manufacturing sector. Yet Hollywood permeates Los Angeles life in ways as large as a film backdrop or as small as a street detour on any awards night.

For many, the halted productions and darkened premieres are not only a threat to the flow of dollars to restaurants and retailers that serve film crews, but also a blow to the cultural heart of the region.

“When Hollywood defines America’s idea of ​​where I live, Hollywood’s problems become my problems,” said DJ Waldie, a cultural historian in Southern California. “When Hollywood stops, a lot of things stop here, and not just a few studios.”

During the screenwriters’ strike in 2007, the California economy lost $2.1 billion, according to one study. The last time unionized screenwriters and actors staged double walkouts, in 1960, the strikes went unsatisfied for nearly six months.

Economists on Friday said the length of the two strikes will largely determine its financial impact on Los Angeles, though some were more optimistic than others.

Lee Ohanian, an economics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles who has written extensively about California, estimated that about 20 percent of the local economy could be affected, in part because the industry generates so much revenue and makes up so much. local employees.

Chris Thornberg, founding partner at the Los Angeles consulting firm Beacon Economics, said the strikes may not be felt locally for a long time because so much of show business has focused on exploiting and distributing existing content.

“As long as people are paying for Hulu and buying Disney movies online, we’re making money,” Dr. Thornberg said. “There will come a time when the lack of content starts to pinch, but this is a slow boil, not a fast one.”

The mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass, explained that she considered the labor standoff to be an urgent local issue and called on the studios and unions to “work around the clock” to reach a fair agreement.

“This affects all of us and is vital to our overall economy,” Mayor Bass said.

Less tangible is the potential impact on Southern California’s self-image. Show business is wrapped up in the region’s civic identity in ways that are unparalleled in lesser-known cities.

An audience of 18.7 million people tuned in this year to the Academy Awards, Los Angeles’ best-known office party. Backdrops from Venice Beach to the Sixth Street Viaduct are viewed locally with pride as stars in their own right. Homeowners from the San Fernando Valley to South Pasadena run lucrative side hustles, renting their houses for motion pictures and commercials.

Although most of the famous names live in mansions behind gates, few angels, even in remote outbacks, are without a celebrity story – the producer spotted in Joshua Tree, the famous face in the next lane in traffic.

“Everywhere I go, people ask me the same question: What stars have I met?” said Stephen Cheung, the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. “No one would ask me that if I was from another town.”

Born in Hong Kong, Mr. Cheung, 44, said he saw his first real celebrity in Los Angeles when he was about 10, through a car window. “We were near the convention center in the city center, and suddenly, a car stopped and I saw Madonna get out.”

Many also know stars the way anyone knows anyone in the nation’s second-largest city: as neighbors or co-parents or people walking their dogs. Entertainers sponsor local schools, board second careers as politiciansstump for state ballot initiatives and sometimes gets into scrapes with the mayor for trying to fill his own holes.

Democratic leaders across the liberal state have long supported; earlier this month, Gov. Gavin Newsom of California extended a $330 million-a-year film and television tax credit program to encourage studios to keep productions at home.

Some communities share a special bond.

“We have a lot of studio people who live in Burbank,” said Mimi House, a retired medical clinic administrative worker, on Thursday lunching with a group of like-minded people in the “beautiful downtown” of the Los Angeles suburb shortly after leading the actors. ‘ union, known as SAG-AFTRA, announced the walkout.

Without the entertainment industry, Burbank would be a “ghost town,” added Virginia Bohr, a retired accountant at the table with Ms. House. Local officials recently renamed their airport Hollywood Burbank, even though Hollywood is technically a neighborhood in Los Angeles, a separate city.

The region has long attracted showbiz wannabes from around the world hoping to catch their big break. Many scrape by for years before they find work outside of the entertainment industry.

Thomas Whaley, a veteran teacher who for 23 years coordinated a comprehensive visual and performing arts curriculum at the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, credited the entertainment community for drawing him to the region and helping ensure the long-term success of his program, which has become statewide. model for the scope and quality of its proposals. If it weren’t for the local concentration of talent, he said, he might never have ended up in the job he liked.

“I moved to LA to play trombone for film and television in 1990,” said Mr. Whaley, who grew up in Rhode Island and studied to become a studio musician on full scholarships at Berklee College of Music in Boston and the University of Miami. “My mother kept saying, Come home, Rhode Island is great, and I said, Mom, they don’t have what I need.”

Other Angels feel a disconnect with an industry whose workers have long been concentrated in parts of the city that are wealthier and whiter.

In Mid-City, a Los Angeles neighborhood several miles south of Hollywood that is mainly Latinos and blacksRachel Johnson and Rosario Gomez, both 17, were more interested in frozen fruit from the local pallet. shop than in the demands of Hollywood strikers.

“It’s the least of our worries,” Ms. Johnson said of the picket lines, noting the struggling mom-and-pop businesses on her streets, rising rents and permanent homeless encampments.

“Yes, there are bigger issues here, like gentrification,” Ms. Gomez added.

Nearby at La Cevicheria, a tiny eatery on Pico Boulevard, Yejoo Kim, 29, who works in geopolitics, agreed that Hollywood “can feel worlds apart,” even for angels who were born and raised in the city, as she was.

But she and her roommate, David Choi, 27, also pointed to the large immigrant communities in Los Angeles that have been carefully mirrored in recent years in film and television.

“I feel solidarity,” said Mr. Choi, a novelist interested in the salary standards Hollywood sets for its writers. “I would gladly participate in a boycott of a show.”

Corina Knoll contributed reporting from Los Angeles and Vic Jolly of Burbank, California.

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