Manufacturing

August 13, 2013

California Exports Over $15 Billion in June

California exports held flat in June, the most recent month when such statistics are available, but given the problems in many economies this is considered to be a respectable number.

California businesses shipped merchandise valued at $15.23 billion in June, according to an analysis of U.S. Commerce Department figures by Beacon Economics. That is up an insignificant 0.3 percent from $15.18 billion in June 2012. “June was another of those ‘apparently up but actually down’ months,” says Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser. California’s exports of manufactured items rose from $9.71 billion last June to $9.81 billion this June. Meanwhile, the state’s exports of non-manufactured goods also edged up, from $1.59 billion to $1.64 billion.

According to their report, the data revealed some a few other interesting facts. “While it may seem counter-intuitive, California’s merchandise export trade with Europe has been up nearly 13% over the latest three months,” O’Connell says. By contrast, the state’s exports to the Far East declined by 3.2% during the same period, despite a 16.9% jump in the value of shipments to China.

The Beacon analysis noted that the year-over-year increase was basically canceled out by inflation, the June numbers were up substantially from shipments valued at $13.25 billion in May this year. With imports, California took in $32.03 billion in June, down about 1.3 percent from $32.47 billion in June last year. Since many goods entering California go to other states, so exports are generally considered a more accurate measure of the state’s international trade, which seems to be holding steady.

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August 9, 2013

Los Angeles still a top market for manufacturing jobs

Los Angeles ranked third as a manufacturing employment hub, according to a new survey by the job site Monster.com. This is in spite of heavy job losses in the manufacturing sector with more than 6000 jobs lost in June compared to a gain of about 1,100. Only Houston and New York were reported to have more manufacturing jobs in their metropolitan areas.

It wasn’t all good news though, as reported in the Los Angeles Business Journal, about 47 percent of manufacturing workers were dissatisfied with their jobs, and 34 percent were on the hunt for a new job – and 74 percent of respondents said it was a more challenging employment environment than a year ago.

Still, many believe that manufacturing is making a comeback and Los Angeles is likely to remain a hub for this activity. “With conditions in the US economy turning more favorable for manufacturing in general, there are several indicators that manufacturing jobs are returning to the US” said Jeffrey Quinn, a spokesperson Monster’s Global Insights.

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July 26, 2013

California might benefit from White House Manufacturing Initiative

The Obama Administration has launched a new program called rogram the “Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership” (IMCP) and recently held their first and only meeting in California. This roundtable event in Woodland was sponsored by the White House and the USDA and attracted about 125 people.

As part of a national manufacturing strategy. 25 communities around the country will be awarded $200,000 each to create an implementation strategy for this program. In addition, a half dozen or so communities will be awarded up to $25 million each next year from the U.S. Commerce Department for manufacturing strategies that are ready to be implemented.

According to a report by the California Economic Summit, a public-private partnership group called Innovate North State proposed concentrating on five industries: agriculture, cleantech, health, web and information technology as well as manufacturing. They have identified 100 manufacturing companies in the northern part of the state, and are planning to submit a proposal to the IMCP.

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December 4, 2012

Made in California legislation introduced

Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett has introduced legislation to create a “Made in California” program that would allow manufacturers to better market goods produced in Californiam=, according to a report in the
Sacramento Business Journal. Modeled after the successful “California Grown” program, which highlights agriculture products produced in California, the legislation would extend that marketing strategy to all goods produced in the state.

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September 7, 2009

California loses 127,000 Manufacturing Jobs

California was the second-largest loser of manufacturing jobs — 123,400 — over the past year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only Ohio lost more more jobs than the Golden State: 127,000. A report by the Milken Institute released earlier this summer reached a similar conclusion, but noted that the state is hemorrhaging high-tech manufacturing jobs at an even higher rate than in traditional manufacturing industries. California’s employment in this high-wage, high-skill segment is down 23 percent from 2000 levels, as opposed to declines nationally of 19 percent and the peer states’ average of 16 percent. In fact, from 2003 to 2007, encompassing the recovery of the high-tech sector, the peer states gained 24,000 high-tech manufacturing jobs while California lost almost 16,000.

“Widespread misconceptions about the manufacturing sector in California are part of the problem,” said Perry Wong, senior economist and one of the authors of the report. “People don’t understand that manufacturing is an integral part of the high-tech and clean-tech economy. If Californians want to build the future economic recovery on high-tech and retain highly skilled workers, they have to address the underlying issues of this sector now.”

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August 31, 2009

Toyota Dumps California

Toyota Motor Corp. has announced that it plans to end production in March 2010 at the Fremont plant it has run with General Motors Co. The Toyota-GM partnership has run the plant since 1984 – Corolla compact and Tacoma pickups are built there. Bob Wasserman, mayor of Fremont expressed disappointment at the news that the 5.3-million-square-foot plant would close: “This is a real tragic loss of jobs, very good jobs, for the workers at NUMMI,” he said. “There are a lot of good people there who will now be out of work. And this impact will be felt well beyond Fremont, considering all of the people employed by suppliers around the East Bay and the Central Valley. This is a very difficult situation.”

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February 12, 2009

Tesla seeking $350 million loan from Federal Government

Tesla Motors Inc. said it has not been notified yet whether it will get a $350-million loan from the federal government, but expects word within four to five months.  A newsletter distributed Wednesday by the company caused confusion when CEO Elon Musk wrote, “I am excited to report that the Department of Energy informed Tesla last week that they expect to disburse funds … within four to five months.” Some took that to mean that the loan had been approved but the company said later that this isn’t the case.  Spokesperson Rachel Konrad said the Department of Energy hasn’t given final confirmation to any of the 75 entities that applied for the funds. “No one has gotten final confirmation,” she said. “That said, we’re very confident we’re going to get financing.”  Full story here.

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January 15, 2009

HP CEO Scores with $42 million salary prior to massive layoffs

Is this another example of our corporate leaders being rewarded for short term gain rather than long term vision?

Hewlett-Packard Co. CEO Mark Hurd received about $42.5 million in pay during 2008, according to a regulatory filing. The Palo Alto-based personal computer maker said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Tuesday that it gave Hurd a $5.3 million bonus along with $12.9 million in stock awards, $18.6 million in incentive plan compensation and $4.2 million in option awards, pension and expense payments. His base salary was $1.5 million.  Hurd took the reins in April 2005 and began a revamp of the company. In September HP said it would take a $1.7 billion charge and cut 24,600 jobs.

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October 10, 2008

HP to build new PC manufacturing plant in China

Hewlett-Packard Co. has announced plans for an advanced manufacturing complex in West China.   According to a report in Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal, Palo Alto-based HP plans a 20,000-square-meter facility in Chongqing where it will make notebook and desktop PCs for customers.  Manufacturing operations are expected to begin in 2010. When in full operation, the HP-managed plant is expected to have the capacity to meet market demand in Chongqing as well as other parts of China across government, public and retail sectors. 

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December 14, 2007

Ausra to mass-produce solar thermal collectors

Ausra, the Palo Alto-based solar thermal company that just last month announced plans to build a 177-megawatt solar installation in California, is now in the process of launching a new business arm, mass producing its own flat-mirrored solar collectors. As reported in VentureBeat, it’s begun construction on a Las Vegas facility that it says will churn out enough solar collectors each year to produce 700 megawatts of energy. Ausra plans to have the 130,000 square foot plant completed as early as April 2008

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September 13, 2007

Volkswagen and Apple in exploratory talks

Rumor has it that German automaker Volkswagen AG and American computer company Apple Inc. are now in talks about the possibility of producing an “iCar” that would feature products from the manufacturer of personal music player. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Volkswagen’s chief Martin Winterkorn met several days ago in California, and plan to meet for further discussions, said Hans-Gerd Bode, a spokesman for Volkswagen. There are “scores of ideas,” but few concrete plans at this point, according to a report in Digital Journal. Jobs and Winterkorn are supposedly in discussion to build a series of vehicles, reported German magazine Capital. The two industry giants met in California recently, and while the talks are in their early stages, Apple and Volkswagen are reportedly planning to cooperate on developing VW compact cars that will include Apple products.

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April 12, 2007

Chevron teams with Dow on large plastics venture

“A joint venture of San Ramon-based Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips is teaming up with Dow Chemical Co. to create the largest producer of styrene and polystyrene plastics in the Americas. Cost savings from the 50-50 venture between Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and Dow Chemical will exceed 10 percent of sales. That’s because Dow is a net buyer of styrene in North America and Chevron Phillips is a seller, Andrew Liveris, Dow’s chief executive officer, said in an interview with Bloomberg. The joint venture would reduce costs in a low-margin industry. The venture hopes to bolster profit margins by matching larger styrene production from Chevron Phillips with a bigger polystyrene output from Dow. Styrene is made from benzene and is used to produce polystyrene, a hard plastic used in packaging and disposable cutlery. Chevron and its partner Phillips will contribute two U.S. factories to the joint venture. Dow will contribute seven plants, including five in the United States, to the new operation. The only California plant being contributed is a Dow factory in Torrance.”

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March 29, 2007

Manufacturing still top job provider in Southern California

There were mixed trends in manufacturing in Southern California during 2006, according to “Manufacturing in Southern California,” which was released March 28 by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) in conjunction with the WESTEC Manufacturing Technology Exposition and Conference at the Los Angeles Convention Center. “Orange and Ventura Counties, and the Riverside-San Bernardino area all added factory jobs during 2006, which was counter to the national trend,” said Jack Kyser, chief economist, LAEDC. “However, Los Angeles County saw 9,400 factory jobs disappear from 2005 to 2006. Despite this, Los Angeles County was still the nation’s number one manufacturing center.Its 2006 manufacturing employment average of 462,300 jobs was well ahead of number two Chicago’s average of 390,200 jobs. Detroit remained in third place with 268,800 jobs.” The latter two areas also experienced job losses. The LAEDC report calculated that there were 911,000 manufacturing jobs in Southern California during 2006 (this region is defined as the Los Angeles five-county area plus San Diego County). “This would make the area the nation’s third-largest manufacturing ‘state,’ behind California (1,505,000 jobs) and Texas (926,000 jobs),” noted Kyser. “What are the implications of this large factory workforce,” asked Kyser. “This sector represents a huge market for all types of suppliers (goods and services) and means that local manufacturers can find inputs right in their backyard.”

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March 15, 2007

Alcoa receives large business award from Fullerton Chamber

“Alcoa Fastening Systems’ (AFS) Fullerton Aerospace Operations was recognized as the Large Business of the Year at the Fullerton Chamber of Commerce President’s Award Banquet held recently in Fullerton, Calif. U.S. Congressman Ed Royce presented the award to Craig Brown, director of operations for the facility. ‘We are extremely pleased that the city recognizes our commitment and contributions to the business community in Fullerton,’ Brown said. ‘We have been an active member of the community for over 40 years and we will continue to support it’. “

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March 14, 2007

Intel to build $2.5 billion semiconductor plant in China

“China has approved plans by Intel, the US semiconductor company, to build a $2.5bn advanced chip fabrication plant in the north-eastern city of Dalian. The planned plant would be a breakthrough for China’s efforts to build a strong semiconductor sector, but is likely to fuel concerns in the US about the transfer of strategic manufacturing technology to a potential economic and military rival. Intel, which makes most of its chips in the US with manufacturing outposts in Ireland and Israel, has repeatedly declined to comment on its plans for the plant in Dalian.”

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February 27, 2007

USG plans $220 million wallboard plant in Stockton

“USG Corp. on Monday announced two major deals to expand operations in the West, including a new wallboard plant in Stockton. The Chicago-based company will begin construction soon on the $220 million plant at the Port of Stockton. The 90-acre plant should open in the first six months of 2010. The 150-employee plant, which will make Sheetrock grand gypsum panel, will replace two higher-cost plants that USG closed in California, USG chairman and chief executive officer William C. Foote said in a news release.”

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February 15, 2007

Germany reviewing KLA-Trencor’s acquisition of Therma-Wave

“Therma-Wave Inc. said Wednesday that it was notified that the German Federal Cartel office began a second phase in its review of KLA-Tencor Corp.’s proposed $75 million acquisition of the company. Fremont-based Therma-Wave and San Jose-based KLA-Tencor both said they will cooperate with the German authorities.”

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February 13, 2007

Newell Rubbermaid to Lease 407,000 Square Foot Facility in Victorville

“Atlanta-based Newell Rubbermaid recently sighed a 10-year, 407,612 square foot lease agreement on a facility at the Southern California Logistics Airport (SCLA), a master-planned 8,500-acre multimodal transportation hub supported by air, ground and rail connections in Victorville, Calif. The build-to-suit bulk distribution facility for Newell Rubbermaid is the first of several warehouse and distribution buildings to be developed during Phase I construction at the logistics center. “

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February 9, 2007

Pittsburg pursues electric carmaker

“If electric-car maker Tesla Motors opts to open its first U.S. assembly plant in Pittsburg, the move could create hundreds of local jobs and bolster the regional and state economies at a time when manufacturing in California has remained stagnant for more than two years. ‘They’re talking about 300 jobs to begin with,’ Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, said Wednesday, relaying a conversation he had with executives of the San Carlos-based company. If Tesla later expands its vehicle production, he added, ‘without hyperbole, you’re looking at the next Detroit.’”

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February 6, 2007

California lacks business strategy

California lacks a business strategy, according to an editorial in the Vacaville Reporter: “Vacaville tried in vain to lure a new electric vehicle assembly plant valued at $100 million that would have created about 300 high-tech jobs. It’s going elsewhere, to Michigan or to the East Coast. This is a Silicon Valley start-up company that is producing vehicles in England and wants to build its next non-polluting car in the United States.”

The firm’s chief executive says it doesn’t make good business sense to build the plant in California. “There are some states that are very, very interested in having green manufacturing, and California doesn’t seem to be one of them”, Martin Eberhard, Tesla Motors’ CEO, told their reporter. Mr. Eberhard said he received personal phone calls from the governor of Arizona, proposing different programs and incentives to bring the jobs to his state. And the governor of Michigan “cornered” him to promise all obstacles would be cleared from the path to his state. When it came to California, Mr. Eberhard said, “I get shunted to a fellow in the California governor’s office, who he dubbed “Dr. No.”

“In effect, this company was told what many others have been told: That the state doesn’t believe in business incentives… In fact, the state no longer has an agency with an adequate staff to pursue employers and new industry. This lack of a economic development strategy, is puzzling. But there is no mystery about the response of business leaders who are looking elsewhere to build new enterprises.”

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