California: Far Fewer Manufacturing Jobs—But good at what we get to do

Some people do not get it. If five people are doing a great job that is nice. But fifty people want to work, and in California manufacturing that will never happen again. The author of this article appreciates that those that do have jobs are doing good work. What is really needed is the repeal of AB 32, a cut in taxes and common sense in the development of jobs. It seems that number one product of California government is building roadblocks to economic vitality.

“”Manufacturing continues to become more technologically advanced and more lean,” says economist Christine Cooper, who co-authored the study. “It means that productivity is soaring, but employment is not, so we continue to lose employment in manufacturing jobs while our output and the value of our output keeps increasing.”

Obama Jobs Tour

 

Study: As manufacturing changes, California loses jobs but keeps prowess

Brian Watt, KPCC, 7/15/14

Workers at Karen Kane sew small batches of samples in their local warehouse to test out new designs. Karen Kane can now produce its line faster in the states than it did in China. Mae Ryan/KPCC

Despite losing thousands of manufacturing jobs over more than two decades, California remains a top manufacturing center in the U.S, according to a report published Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

The report is entitled “California’s Manufacturing Industries: Employment and Competitiveness in the 21st Century.” Between 1990 and 2012, it says, California lost 842,180 – or about 40 percent – of its  manufacturing jobs. But it still contributes more to the country’s manufacturing output than any other state. With 11.4 percent of the U.S.’ manufacturing GDP, California beats Texas with 10 percent.

“Manufacturing continues to become more technologically advanced and more lean,” says economist Christine Cooper, who co-authored the study. “It means that productivity is soaring, but employment is not, so we continue to lose employment in manufacturing jobs while our output and the value of our output keeps increasing.”

While many manual jobs have gone off shore, technology gets the blame and the credit for constantly changing manufacturing.

“As we see higher technology being used in manufacturing, we do need to have targeted curriculum and training programs for the people that are gonna be operating these types of manufacturing processes going forward,” Cooper told KPCC.

Cooper adds that California still maintains a lot of advantages in several individual manufacturing industries, including aerospace, apparel, food processing and furniture.

Jim Watson, President and CEO of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, agrees that the manual jobs in manufacturing have gone oversees and aren’t coming back. The new manufacturing jobs in California and throughout the U.S. require backgrounds in engineering and math skills and the ability to work with computerized equipment.

But while California’s workforce needs the training to catch up, Watson says the leaders of manufacturing companies must get smarter and more aggressive about cultivating new markets for their goods.

“The future of a lot of manufacturing in Southern California is not in California.  It’s in this global economy that’s beginning to impact everybody,” Watson told KPCC.

Watson says his nonprofit recently helped a manufacturer of security and audio equipment grow its business by selling its products in Mexico.

“It took a lot of work on their part,” Watson said. “They needed to understand the complexities of the market, how to sell to it, but it all paid off for them.”

The report points out that though California is important to the nationwide manufacturing economy, the Golden State’s own economy is more diversified, so it depends less on manufacturing than other states.

Manufacturing only makes up 10.7 percent of the state’s economic output, while the percentage is much higher in states like Oregon (32 percent) and Indiana (29 percent).

Despite losing thousands of manufacturing jobs over more than two decades, California remains a top manufacturing center in the U.S, according to a report published Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.

The report is entitled “California’s Manufacturing Industries: Employment and Competitiveness in the 21st Century.” Between 1990 and 2012, it says, California lost 842,180 – or about 40 percent – of its  manufacturing jobs. But it still contributes more to the country’s manufacturing output than any other state. With 11.4 percent of the U.S.’ manufacturing GDP, California beats Texas with 10 percent.

“Manufacturing continues to become more technologically advanced and more lean,” says economist Christine Cooper, who co-authored the study. “It means that productivity is soaring, but employment is not, so we continue to lose employment in manufacturing jobs while our output and the value of our output keeps increasing.”

While many manual jobs have gone off shore, technology gets the blame and the credit for constantly changing manufacturing.

“As we see higher technology being used in manufacturing, we do need to have targeted curriculum and training programs for the people that are gonna be operating these types of manufacturing processes going forward,” Cooper told KPCC.

Cooper adds that California still maintains a lot of advantages in several individual manufacturing industries, including aerospace, apparel, food processing and furniture.

Jim Watson, President and CEO of California Manufacturing Technology Consulting, agrees that the manual jobs in manufacturing have gone oversees and aren’t coming back. The new manufacturing jobs in California and throughout the U.S. require backgrounds in engineering and math skills and the ability to work with computerized equipment.

But while California’s workforce needs the training to catch up, Watson says the leaders of manufacturing companies must get smarter and more aggressive about cultivating new markets for their goods.

“The future of a lot of manufacturing in Southern California is not in California.  It’s in this global economy that’s beginning to impact everybody,” Watson told KPCC.

Watson says his nonprofit recently helped a manufacturer of security and audio equipment grow its business by selling its products in Mexico.

“It took a lot of work on their part,” Watson said. “They needed to understand the complexities of the market, how to sell to it, but it all paid off for them.”

The report points out that though California is important to the nationwide manufacturing economy, the Golden State’s own economy is more diversified, so it depends less on manufacturing than other states.

Manufacturing only makes up 10.7 percent of the state’s economic output, while the percentage is much higher in states like Oregon (32 percent) and Indiana (29 percent).

 

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.

Comments

  1. Welcome to the world of the ‘Jetsons’ As technology has increased in the manufacturing industry, increasing ‘production cost efficiencies, (and resulting job loses) the service industry will the next. (victim)
    Robotics will reduce the need for even the minimum labor tasks.
    A robot can be ‘PROGRAMED’ to flip a burger or make up a bed.
    Are you listening R2D2??
    Sure glad that I spent the vast majority of my life when you had to use YOUR hands and YOUR brain to produce a product, and made a respectable living while doing that.
    Perhaps ‘Robotics’ design and manufacture will be the ‘secure’ job
    of the future. (until technology has advanced to ‘Robots building Robots’) Scary!!!!
    All is not lost, perhaps technology can advance to the point of Robots doing the job of a politician. (they could hardly do a worse job, could they???)

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