There are three little words we all like to hear, “Made in America.” Manufacturing helped grow our nation and build a middle class. Manufacturing jobs pay good wages. Manufacturing spurs economic growth and drives innovation.
Many are quick to think that all manufacturing has left Southern California. Not true. While the number of jobs has declined, Los Angeles County still has a significant manufacturing base providing almost 815,000 jobs -8.6 percent of the total workforce.
The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC), which tracks employment by sector, reports “LA County has more manufacturing employment than any other county in the nation. We have a diverse set of manufacturing industries here that don’t receive enough publicity and support.”
These companies sell products around the world which brings money here and creates wealth for the entire region.
The San Gabriel Valley - where I live and work - is the proud home of 58,900 manufacturing jobs. In fact in the last 10 years several highly specialized advanced manufacturing sub-sectors have added jobs in the SGV - primarily those involved in making the parts, components, resins, and fibers for the aerospace industry and pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing serving the burgeoning healthcare industry.
Tomorrow, October 2, 2015, is National Manufacturing Day. You might wonder why we need a day to celebrate manufacturing. There are lots of good reasons.
First, it is needed to set the record straight. Manufacturing is not dead. It is an important part of our economy and the infrastructure required to support manufacturing exists here in abundance - our ports, freeways, utilities, and workforce.
Second - LAEDC is right. These important companies don’t get enough publicity and support. We want these companies to stay here and to grow here. We should let them know they are appreciated.
Finally, manufacturing offers opportunities for future employment. Manufacturing Day provides a good opportunity to get students thinking about careers in manufacturing.
Manufacturing companies, colleges, and universities are all pitching in to share the good news and cheer on manufacturing. There are almost 2,000 events planned across the nation. A quick visit to LAEDC’s website provides a list of the events planned closer to home.
One other top manufacturing sector in LA County is food manufacturing. The SGV is adding jobs in this sector especially related to specialty sauces. How about celebrating manufacturing by touring Huy Fong Foods to see how their famous Rooster Sriracha sauce is made? It is chili picking season and the best time to pay a visit. Sign up for Saturday tours on their website at Huy Fong Foods, Inc. www.huyfong.com
Happy Manufacturing Day however you decide to celebrate it.