Categorized | CPA, Economy

Manufacturing in the Golden State - Making California Thrive


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Manufacturing in the Golden State -  Making California Thrive

For over 150 years, California was the land of opportunity - the Golden State. It was part of the last frontier of westward expansion of the United States. People emigrated to California from other states and territories, and people immigrated to California from other countries to pursue the American Dream.

Mining, agriculture, and ranching were the first industries in California during the 19th Century. With three deep-water ports, California became the gateway to Asia and other Pacific Rim countries in the 20th Century. Shipbuilding and then aircraft manufacturing, starting in the 1920s, fostered the growth of other manufacturing sectors. The increased presence of the Navy and Air Force during and after the WWII expanded manufacturing opportunities to supply their needs. Space exploration and the establishment of several NASA centers increased the production of high tech products in California.

Northern California’s Silicon Valley was the birthplace of the semiconductor industry and many of the electronic component equipment companies that supported technology-based manufactured products. Communication and telemetry systems combined to become the powerful telecommunications industry. Software development and production to support and operate the explosion of high tech products became the next growth industry in the 1990s.

Medical device manufacturing started as early as the 1970s, but the San Diego region became the center of biotech and biomedical R&D and manufacturing, as a result of the University of California San Diego and Scripps Research Center, growing exponentially in the last decade of 20th Century and the first decade of the 21stCentury.

The dotcom bust in late 2000, and the subsequent recession took their toll on California’s manufacturing industry. From 200-2004, there were an unprecedented number of company closures resulting in a steep loss of manufacturing jobs that was exacerbated by many companies making the decision to offshore manufacturing to Asia, especially China. There was only a limited recovery in the number of manufacturing jobs during 2004-2007, and the Great Recession of 2008-2009 further decimated California manufacturers and resulted in more loss of manufacturing jobs. In fact, California has lost over 500,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001.

Thus, you may be astonished to find out that California still had more manufacturing jobs than any other state in the U. S. as of 2011.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2011

Now we are faced with manufacturers making the decision to leave California. What can we do to make California thrive again and revitalize our manufacturing industry?

Well, I have been working with the Coalition for a Prosperous America and staff from California Senator Mark Wyland and Assemblymember Toni Atkins offices to facilitate an economic summit on this very topic.

Here is an invitation to attend this important event:

“I would like to personally invite you to an event that I am hosting with Assemblymember Toni Atkins on February 14th. The summit will focus on changes happening to California’s manufacturing industry and explore avenues that could encourage and promote this important sector.

A dynamic list of speakers will explore issues related to free trade, fair trade, partnerships with Labor and regulatory reform options that could help create more jobs in San Diego County and the state.

Please join me as Republicans and Democrats, Management and Labor, and leading economic thinkers explore solutions to these important challenges. I look forward to your participation.

Mark Wyland
Senator, 38th District


Manufacturing in the Golden State

“Making California Thrive”



8:30 am to 3:00 pm

 12400 High Bluff Drive

San Diego, California 92130



Senator Mark Wyland
Assemblymember Toni Atkins
Coalition for Prosperous America - A non-profit, bi-partisan organization
San Diego North Chamber of Commerce
South County Economic Development Council
San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce
East County Economic Development Council
Industrial Environmental Association
San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation
NECA San Diego Chapter
Society of Manufacturing Engineers
San Diego North Economic Development Council
Advanced Test Equipment Rentals
Del Mar Electronics & Design Show
California Manufacturing Technology Consulting®
Centers for Applied Competitive Technologies (CACT)
(partial list)


Greg Autry, Economist, University California Irvine
Pat Choate, Economist; Author, Saving Capitalism: Keeping America Strong
Thea Lee, Deputy Chief of Staff, President’s Office at AFL-CIO
Craig Anderson, Environmental Health & Safety Director for Solar Turbines
Paul Brown, CFO, The Wheat Group
 Karl Friedrich Haarburger, VPSolar Energy Industrial Operations at SOITEC
Neal Nordstrom, COO, PureForge
Rick Urban, CEO, Quality Controlled Manufacturing, Inc.
Chris Wellons, VP of Manufacturing, Taylor Guitars
Michele Nash-Hoff - Author, “Can American Manufacturing Be Saved: Why We Should and How We Can”


This is an opportunity for business and political leaders to join in a discussion about problems and solutions to California jobs and manufacturing growth. This unique collaboration and interactive summit will allow participants, business leaders, labor leaders and elected officials to develop strategies and policies to better serve California.

$25 (includes light breakfast and lunch)



3 Responses to “Manufacturing in the Golden State - Making California Thrive”

  1. Bruce Bishop says:

    It has been my argument that excessive regulations drove manufacturing out of this country, through the back doors of NAFTA and the WTO.

    And, of course, the continuing meme from Hollywood that manufacturing people are evil greed-heads who are exploiting their workers, cheating their customers and destroying the planet, hasn’t helped.

    Here is a link to a report on the costs of regulation to California businesses.

    • Tom T says:

      Bruce, I know there are some regulations that are counterproductive. These should be re-examined. Many, however, have put the costs of production back onto the industry where they belong, such as pollution regulations. It is just plain cheaper to produce goods and pollute than to not pay those costs of pollution or environmental control.

      The big rub when it comes to trade, is that many of our competitors do not have the regulations that keep their environment clean. They don’t have those costs and therefore they can have cheaper costs of production.

      The solution is to adjust for these things at the port of entry via some pollution tax rather than allow foreign competitors to put these costs on society as a whole, even their own. The same with employee protections and other costs imposed on U.S. manufacturing via regulations.

      Manufacturers will go to the lowest cost of production because the market will push them in that direction. The policy of allowing foreign competitors by step these regulations puts U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage. It is one of the things we should look out for in all trade agreements so we don’t shoot our manufacturing in the foot. Getting rid of those “pesky” regulations is not the solution although some should be revisited because they don’t work as planned. Making everyone follow the same rules in the manufacturing process is essential. We don’t have that now with these “free trade” agreements that do not contain these provisions.

      Tom T

  2. Tom T says:

    Sure, that is not my experience with California.

    I hate to reduce our loss of manufacturing and good jobs to these type of generalizations that end up blaming everything but the real problems in the country.

    There are real problem areas in California but a thriving economy solves many of these problems. A weak economy helps create them.

    Tom T.


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