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Los Angeles Is the Largest Manufacturing Center in the U.S.

You would think that Hollywood would be the largest employer in the LA market. Not so. According to the U.S. Dept. of Labor, manufacturing is the No. 1 job category in LA, with 510,000 manufacturing jobs, outpacing Chicago and New York.

Major manufacturing sectors in LA include transportation equipment, apparel, fabricated metal products, computers and electronics. Key areas of geographic concentration include the Long Beach and Santa Ana suburbs.

“More factories are opening up now here. People are starting to have hope again.”

One firm benefiting from LA’s growth is Made-Well-LA, a private label garment and apparel manufacturer that takes a concept, turns it into a prototype and then brings it through to full production. Launched by Mike Basteguian, his family owns one of a small handful of apparel factories in LA that date back to the 1900s.

In addition, onshoring is having a positive effective on the Los Angeles’ apparel manufacturing industry. “More factories are opening up now here,” Mike Angel Reynoso of the Garment Alliance told the Los Angeles Times. “People are starting to have hope again.”

Goldbrecht-Systems USA of Culver City, which makes oversized windows and advanced sliding glass doors, is in growth mode and is hiring production workers. However, CEO James Tschortner told the LA Times that finding the qualified workers he needs to fill open jobs has been difficult in the Los Angeles market. “The education level and skill sets of the workers here is not ideal,” he said. “We’ve been looking at using more machines.”

Second-quarter 2014 data from real estate research firm CoStar finds shows a rise in demand for 50,000- to 150,000-square-foot buildings in Los Angeles, according to Area Development Online. Meanwhile, the city has a 4.4% vacancy rate on a total inventory of 289.5 million square feet, but only about 643,000 square feet under construction in industrial zones.Perhaps the minimum wage increase would attract more workers to Los Angeles. Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed a new minimum wage for the city, of $13.25, for 2017.

California was a contender for Tesla’s new battery plant, but the state lost the bid to Nevada last week.


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