Industrial employment in California fell 5 percent over the past 12 months according to the 2010 Directory of California Manufacturers, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News Inc. MNI reports California lost 78,723 industrial jobs and 819 manufacturers between February 2009 and February 2010, the sharpest decline MNI has ever reported for the state.
Manufacturers' News reports California is now home to 25,557 manufacturers employing 1,538,106 workers.
"It's a perfect storm of negative conditions," says Tom Dubin, president of the Evanston, Ill.-based publishing company, which has been surveying industry since 1912. "The country has suffered deep losses in manufacturing employment due to automation and technology, outsourcing and the recession, while the faltering housing market has affected industries such as wood products, furniture and building products."
According to MNI, the lumber and wood sector saw the worst decline in employment, down 14.2 percent. Furniture/fixtures declined 11.1 percent.
Electronics manufacturing remains the state's largest industrial sector by employment with 253,132 jobs, down 3.1 percent over the year, following the closure of a Rockwell Collins facility in San Jose, among others. Industrial machinery and equipment ranks second with 180,033 jobs, down 5.5 percent. Third-ranked food products accounts for 165,307 jobs, and was the only sector to remain stable, with a loss of just 265 jobs over the past 12 months.
MNI reports employment in the transportation equipment sector fell 8.8 percent, due partially to layoffs at RV maker Fleetwood Enterprises. Other sectors that lost jobs included printing/publishing, down 8.7 percent; textiles/apparel, down 7.7 percent; primary metals, down 6.6 percent; fabricated metals, down 5.9 percent; rubber/plastics, down 5.8 percent; stone/clay/glass, down 4.9 percent; paper products, down 3.8 percent; and chemicals, down 1.9 percent.
Bright spots for the state include Kyocera Solar Inc.'s opening of a solar panel production facility in San Diego, the planned expansion of Siemens Mobility in Sacramento in order to produce light-rail vehicles, and the planned opening of a Tesla facility in Palo Alto that will manufacture components for its electric vehicles.
Southern California saw the worst drop in manufacturing employment, down 5.5 percent over the past 12 months, with a loss of 56,681 industrial jobs. Southern California currently accounts for 966,758 industrial jobs, having fallen below the one million mark for the first time since MNI began collecting the region's data ten years ago. Northern California accounts for 571,348 of the state's jobs, down 22,042, or 3.1 percent over the year.
Los Angeles remains the state's top city by industrial employment with 85,238 manufacturing jobs, down 6 percent over the year, and ranks as the fourth-largest industrial city by employment nationally. San Diego accounts for 71,054 industrial jobs, down 3.9 percent. San Jose saw employment decrease 8.6 percent and is currently home to 53,554 industrial workers, while Irvine accounts for 38,294 of the state's jobs, down 4.4 percent. Fifth-ranked Santa Clara accounts for 37,384 jobs, down 2.7 percent over the past 12 months.