The Los Angeles metropolitan area will surpass the New York metropolitan area by the year 2000 as the nation's largest in population and jobs, and San Francisco will become the No. 1 area in per capita personal income, the Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis reported yesterday.

Overall, the bureau said in projections for the 55 largest metropolitan areas that population and jobs will grow fastest in metropolitan areas of the West and Sunbelt. A metropolitan area usually consists of a central city plus surrounding suburbs or smaller cities.

The national population will grow 14.3 percent by the year 2000, the bureau projected, but many Sunbelt and Western metropolitan areas, which have been experiencing above-average growth rates for a number of years, will exceed the national average by a wide margin, while northeastern and midwestern areas continue to lag.

According to bureau projections, the 10 large metropolitan areas with the fastest expected growth between 1983 and 2000 "are located in the Sunbelt states of Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, Colorado and Utah," with West Palm Beach, Calif., the national leader at 61 percent, followed by Phoenix at 55 percent and Orlando, Fla., at 50 percent.

Other areas of hefty population growth will be Riverside, Calif., about 42 percent; Denver; Houston, Tex.; Salt Lake City and Tampa, Fla., about 35 percent each; Sacramento, 34 percent; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., 33 percent; Anaheim, Calif., and San Diego, Calif., 32 percent each; and Atlanta, 31 percent.

The 10 areas with the slowest projected population growth are in the Great Lakes industrial area, according to the projections. The bureau said the population of the Cleveland area is expected to decline by 8 percent, and the Detroit and Pittsburgh metropolitan area populations 2 percent each.

Although Los Angeles will only grow about 13.5 percent in population, that will bring it to 8.87 million, enough to surpass New York, which, with a growth of 1.7 percent, will fall to second at 8.43 million.

The bureau projected that the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area will grow 17.2 percent, from 3.37 million to 3.95 million, and will fall from seventh to eighth in area rankings. Baltimore will grow 7.1 percent to 2.39 million people, dropping from 12th largest to 18th, and the Norfolk area will grow 12.1 percent to 1.38 million, ranked 38th in 2000.

In jobs, as in population, the biggest gains will be in the West and in the Sunbelt. Total employment will rise 29.4 percent nationally, to 138.3 million, the bureau said.

"Job growth from 1983 to 2000 is projected to be fastest in Phoenix and in West Palm Beach, 77 percent and 72 percent, respectively," the bureau said. "Anaheim, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, San Jose Calif. and Tampa also are projected to have increases in excess of 50 percent from 1983 to 2000. The slowest projected job growth is in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, 12 percent and 14 percent, respectively."

With its employment growing 25.2 percent by 2000, Los Angeles will have 5 million employed and slip into the number one spot, past New York, which will have 4.8 million employed after growth of only 14.4 percent in jobs.

In Washington, D.C., the number of jobs will grow from 1.97 million to 2.56 million, about 30 percent, improving its employment rank from sixth to fifth among large metropolitan areas. In the Baltimore area, job growth will be 16.6 percent, for a total of 1.27 million employed by the year 2000. In the Norfolk area, employment will rise 23 percent to 779,000.

Personal income per capita for the nation as a whole was $11,686 in 1983, the bureau said, and will rise 35 percent to $15,740 by 2000 (in constant 1983 dollars).

In 1983, the Bridgeport, Conn., metropolitan area led the nation with $18,380. But by 2000, San Francisco's figure will grow 39 percent and reach $24,906 (in constant 1983 dollars) to take first place.

As with jobs and population, growth in per capita income will be great in many of the Western and Sunbelt cities. But the bureau projections show many northern cities also will experience high growth, such as Cincinnati; Detroit; Cleveland; Milwaukee; Columbus, Ohio, and Philadelphia. Their rates of per capita income are high because unemployment and pay are expected to rise substantially from the extremely depressed conditions of 1983, before full economic recovery in that region, said BEA regional economic projection chief Kenneth Johnson.

In Washington, D.C., growth of 28.5 percent in per capita personal income will raise the level to $20,785 by 2000, fifth highest in the nation (it's now third). In Baltimore, the figure by 2000 is projected to grow 32 percent to $16,184, and in the Norfolk area, 31 percent to $14,822.