California Experiencing Mass Exodus of Blue-Collar Jobs

California Experiencing Mass Exodus of Blue-Collar Jobs

By: Daniel Steingold | September 04, 2016

It appears as if there has been and will continue to be a mass exodus of blue-collar jobs from California, which is a relatively recent trend.

In Colton, CA, a city in San Bernardino County, Ashley’s Furniture will be closing and relocating within two months, citing the need for “more efficiency.”

This problem of manufacturing firms leaving has plagued the entire Inland Empire, a region that includes not only San Bernardino County, but Riverside. It is one of the poorer regions in California.

The presence of some e-commerce warehouses, such as those of Amazon and QVC, has helped in recent years, but not enough to make up for an overall decrease in employment in the manufacturing sector.

In 2015, California had 1.3 million workers employed in a manufacturing job, which was 215,000, or 14 percent, less than from a decade prior.

One expert commented that “California is essentially eliminating its blue-collar sectors” and called the departure of Ashley’s “a gigantic blow” to the region.

Ashley’s wasn’t willing to go in-depth as to why they’re taking manufacturing from Southern California, but some have overheard that it’s largely due to taxes and environmental concerns.

California is known for its high state taxes, along with stringent regulations for carbon emissions. Ashley's Furniture executives were apparently having trouble complying with the latter.

Still, overall unemployment has decreased significantly not only in San Bernardino County— going from 10.5 percent in 2013 to 6.7 percent in July— but in California as a whole.

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