California must get its fair share of U.S. manufacturing renaissance

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Feb. 21, 2014

Last week we looked at recent investment levels of manufacturing across the country and found that California is still lagging the country in the ever-important category of new and expanded facilities.  This week we took a look at the state's manufacturing employment levels since 2000 versus the country.  The California trend continues with a larger percentage loss than the rest of the United States.

Manufacturing employment chart sine 2000

click image for larger pdf





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Another 2,600 manufacturing jobs lost in December

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Jan. 31, 2013

California lost another 2,600 manufacturing jobs in December 2012.  Nationally the picture was much better.  The U.S. gained 25,000 manufacturing jobs in December.  CMTA's updated chart below.





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Manufacturing job creation IS a state issue

Posted by Jack Stewart, President on Feb. 3, 2012

Cross-posted at Fox and Hounds

A few days ago, Governor Jerry Brown made the surprising statement that our state’s massive loss of manufacturing jobs is not a unique California problem because we have “lost manufacturing at about the same rate as the rest of America.”

While it is true that both the US and California have suffered manufacturing job losses, California’s industrial job loss rate was nearly ten percent higher than the U.S. loss rate.  In real numbers, we’ve lost a staggering 626,000 manufacturing jobs in the past decade.  If California had tracked with the national manufacturing job loss percentage, we would have 55,000 more Californians receiving paychecks than we do today.

More significantly, economists are proclaiming manufacturing growth is leading the national recovery. Bloomberg notes, ”Manufacturing accounts for about 12 percent of the economy and was at the forefront of the recovery that began in June 2009.” Contrary to this national trend, California manufacturing is moving in reverse. During 2011, the U.S. created 227,000 new manufacturing jobs, while California lost an additional 4,000 manufacturing jobs.  These are the middle class jobs that our elected leaders say they covet, but do very little to encourage and protect.

State policy has a tremendous impact on manufacturing job growth. States with a positive business climate (competitive operating costs, a trained workforce and a predictable regulatory climate) outpace states with negative business indicators.  California’s 34 percent manufacturing job loss compares with Texas at 21 percent, Indiana at 29 percent and Louisiana at 19 percent.

Business climate issues also have a direct impact on new investment. From 1977 to 2000, California received 5.6 percent of the nation’s new and expanded industrial facilities.  Since 2001, California’s share of those facilities has plummeted to 1.9 percent.  Industrial investors plan on a 10 to 15 year time horizon when making large investments in land, buildings and equipment.  States with long-term budget deficits, excessive infrastructure needs and aggressive regulatory agendas seldom make the short list of corporate planners.

It’s true that California continues to be the innovation state – we receive a large share of investment capital. But in the past decade, we have lost our ability to both innovate and manufacture new products here.   From 2005 to 2009, California received 48 percent of U.S. venture capital investment, but only 1.3 percent of U.S. industrial investment.

The current model is to innovate in California, manufacture in a more cost-competitive state or country, and market back to California consumers.  Under this scenario, California gets the jobs advantage of small, start-up research and development firms, but loses the enormous jobs benefit when those new products move to the production stage.

California’s modern government grew up of an era of rapid industrial expansion.  During the 1950s, 60s and 70s, California led the nation in industrial growth, becoming the top manufacturing state in 1977.  With that growth came a flood of new tax revenues allowing California to invest in infrastructure, education and new social programs.  California became dependent on the largess of a robust industrial economy.

During the ensuing 40 years, California found pride in implementing “first in the nation” environmental regulations.  Clean air, land and water are laudable goals, but the associated regulatory costs have had an impact.  Four decades of accelerating environmental activism have taken a toll on our ability to attract new investment and jobs.

We’re told by financial analysts that American corporations have $3 to $5 trillion available for investment when the current recession ends and that more and more U.S. manufacturers are re-shoring their overseas operations.  The question is: will California attract a fair share of manufacturing investment, or will investors look for states with a more favorable business climate? Our efforts should be to prove that California is serious about rebuilding a manufacturing economy by acknowledging where we must make improvements, not resting on an assumption that this is simply a national problem.





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More manufacturing loss and missed opportunity

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Sept. 18, 2009

California's manufacturing jobs declined again in August.  This month there are 2,800 less high wage middle class jobs in California that could have played a role in our  economic recovery.  The total loss since January 2001 now totals 583,000 -- 31 percent of the state's original manufacturing base at the start of this century.

While we lose these jobs, California also suffers from too many missed opportunities for new growth.  An exponential amount of companies surveying the country for competitive places to manufacture have given up on California because of costs and unpredictability.  This must be turned around with laser focused policies for competitiveness and an articulated commitment to growing middle class jobs and the economy.

One week after the close of the state's legislative session, we can start with some important vetoes and signatures for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to help keep the state's manufacturing base afloat.  Below are some of those important bills with CMTA's veto and signature request letters.

As we prepare for the second year of this Legislative session, the state's manufacturing losses must be at the forefront of concern in our economic recovery and one of the ultimate motivations for policies from our elected leaders.  Clear signals of California's commitment to manufacturing must come, and they must come fast. 



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