Recap of the 14th Annual Southern California Economic Summit


Nearly 400 attendees joined SCAG for the 14th Annual Southern California Economic Summit on Dec. 7, 2023, to discuss connections between regional planning and the long-term health of the Southern California economy. 

Highlights of the 14th Annual Southern California Economic Summit included the presentation and publication of the “Regional Briefing Book,” which details the current state of the region’s economy and provides benchmarks to track the economy in the coming year. SCAG economists generally see reasons for cautious optimism about the resilience of the Southern California economy in the next year, especially after the region delivered solid growth in jobs and household incomes in 2023 despite challenges like inflation, office vacancies and increasing interest rates. 

The first panel of the day—featuring Hasan Ikhrata from SANDAG, Lynn von Koch-Liebert of the Smart Growth Council and Shannon Sedgewick from LA Economic Development Corporation and moderated by SCAG Regional Council Immediate Past President Jan C. Harnick—discussed the responsibility of regional planning efforts like the draft Connect SoCal 2024 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy to address issues of equity and the environment while also protecting the long-term economic prosperity of the region. 

Keynote speaker Greg Lindsay, urban tech fellow at Cornell Tech, began his address by reminding the audience that Southern California “has always been and always will be the transportation paradigm” for the rest of the world before presenting an optimistic preview of the potential of technology to help the region achieves its goals. 

The final panel of the day—featuring Jasson Crockett, Snap, Inc; Brian Merchant, LA Times; Michael Spagna, CSU Dominguez Hills; and Kianna Scott, ChargerHelp, along with moderator Paul Granillo of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership—discussed how Southern California can train the workforce of the future to prepare for the pressures of technological innovation, such as artificial intelligence and other disruptions, and extend the benefits of economic growth to all geographic and demographic corners of the region. 

The resources shared at the event are now available at the event website

SCAG hopes to continue the spirit of the event while working toward the final adoption of the Connect SoCal 2024 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Plan in the coming months.  

We look forward to continuing the conversation at our next event. Please mark your calendars for the upcoming 2024 Regional Conference & General Assembly on May 2-3, 2024, in Palm Desert.