California Manufacturers Still Hold Top Spot In Country Despite Loss Of Factories

8.7% of U.S. manufacturers call California home, but 1,525 companies left last year

California is still first in the nation for manufacturing, accounting for 8.7% of the nation's manufacturing employment and 7% of its plants according to the 2007 Directory of California Manufacturers. California represent 61% of manufacturing employment in the West and 49% of the region's companies.

Manufacturers' News reports California is home to 27,434 manufacturers employing 1,661,789 workers with. 13% of California manufacturers having 100 or more employees compared to the national average of 9.7%.

However the state also begins its fourth straight year of factory losses with 1,525 manufacturing establishments going out of business or relocating over the past 12 months, according to the 2007 Directory of California Manufacturers, an industrial directory published annually by Manufacturers' News, Inc. (MNI) Evanston, Ill. The job losses associated with these closings were 24,266 since February 2006.

Despite the losses, "California exports have increased significantly over the past year," said MNI president, Tom Dubin. "However, the state's business environment is still among the most expensive in the nation, and this continues to have an impact -- particularly on small manufacturers."

MNI data indicates California's manufacturing sector began to plummet between 2000 and 2001, with employment dropping at an average 2% per year, for a total of 128,296 jobs lost since March 2001. The number of reported plants fell by 4,324 or 13% over the same time.

Some companies are leaving California for neighboring states. MNI identified 55 companies that left California for other states with 18% of these moving to Texas, 13% to Arizona, 5% to Oregon and 4% to Nevada.

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