Did you know that if the top 500 U.S.-based manufacturing companies were counted as an independent nation, their total revenue would rank them as the thirdís largest economy in the world! Yet, the US manufacturing sector has experienced substantial job losses at an alarming rate over the past two decades. Since the historical peak in the late 1970s, fewer and fewer jobs have been created in the manufacturing sector. In fact employment in manufacturing is now at its lowest since 1950.
In California, specifically Southern California, aerospace industry has been a key factor for growth. Aerospace employment in California plummeted in the decade of 1990-2000 at a considerably higher rate as compared to the rest of the nation (a reduction of 57% in CA vs. 40% in the entire US). After the 9-11 attacks, increase in military spending allowed much of the aerospace regions of the nation to reverse the downsizing trend. Unfortunately this did not impact any large gains for CAís aerospace firms. Specifically, the LA County aerospace industry continued to have the worst rate of decline (29% decline in LA County from 2000 to 2011 vs. 23% decline in California vs. 6% decline in the nation.)
Could these job losses be due to our astounding technological advances and record-breaking productivity gains? Has the decline caused the US to lose its share of world's manufacturing output, historically at 21%? What are the economical and societal impacts of the declines in low end, low-skill industries such as clothing, toys, and other simple manufacturing vs. the growth in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, aircraft, heavy machinery and other industries where jobs are highly skilled and better paying? These are just a few issues that can guide the nationís efforts to recapture its global leadership.
The panel of distinguished speakers will discuss: