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More pieces of the California manufacturing jobs story

Posted by Gino DiCaro, VP, Communications on April 15, 2016

There were some independent items worth noting in the California manufacturing employment narrative this week.

First the California Labor Market Information Department, in its monthly report this week, announced the loss of 1,600 manufacturing jobs in March. This decline brings California’s manufacturing jobs growth to 3.4 percent since the recession, while the U.S. grew its manufacturing base by 7.4 percent.

In the same week came an announcement from a southern California manufacturer, General Magnaplate, who said they would be shutting down their manufacturing facility in Ventura because of a difficult business climate and an unwarranted stormwater lawsuit against them. Magnaplate is a small manufacturer with only around 25 workers in their Ventura facility, but that means nothing to their employees who are left looking for work. The good news is that families in Texas and New Jersey will likely gain employment because the company’s facilities in those locations will pick up production. Just one example of the drips of manufacturing loss accumulating over the years in California.

With some of this bad news came good news, at least you’d think. The Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) Institute released a report this week indicating that the “Advanced energy” sector generated jobs at six times the rate of the overall California economy last year. The good news stops there. The problem is that often those jobs are coming at the expense of reduced job growth and investment in other areas of the economy.  If we are spending too much for those jobs then we incur even greater losses in the rest of the economy. The report even admits it on page 6: “California’s advanced Fuel Sector was the only segment of Advanced Energy that did not create additional jobs in 2015.  Challenged by several factors including persistently low gasoline prices, Advanced Fuels saw employment decline more than 50 percent from 2014, resulting in a loss of about 8,300 jobs.

Basically the AEE report tells us that if you raise prices on something you can get more people working on ways to reduce consumption. That is of course not a surprise. But when it comes to the entire economy, our collective data is telling us that our state is still lagging the country in manufacturing jobs and investment growth.





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