86th Annual Academy Awards: A glimpse at Los Angeles' manufacturing sector

Posted by TGarland on 03/01/2014

Los Angeles is an industry town. Film industry, that is. And everyone in it is enjoying Oscars Weekend as we speak. Here on the East Coast we're binge-watching the Best Picture nominees and stocking up on red wine and popcorn ahead of the 86th Academy Awards.

Well, your friends at the Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) wanted to check out just what kind of industry town LA is. Apart from the film industry that is. And, it turns out, the LA region has a rich history in -- you guessed it -- manufacturing.

As a big manufacturing state, California lost 475,000 manufacturing jobs due to uneven trade with China between 2001-2010. And a total of 262,800 of those jobs were lost in the 34th congressional district alone, where Los Angeles is located.

Still, as of December 2013, 1,251,500 people in the state of California were employed in the manufacturing sector. Of them, 354,600 were located in the greater Los Angeles area, making manufacturing is the sixth largest industry in the region.

So, who are those people, and what are a few of the things Made in Los Angeles?

The region is largely known for apparel manufacturing. Though apparel manufacturing has declined as a whole in the U.S., Los Angeles has almost 10 times the national average of apparel manufacturing jobs. The high concentration of these jobs signals that apparel is a key local industry.

In fact, LA-based American Apparel, a made in the USA clothing chain, operates the largest garment-making facility in the U.S. The company prides itself on producing 1 million garments a week at their sweatshop-free factory in downtown LA. Take a virtual tour inside their factory.

But that’s not all — Cal Spas makes spas and hot tubs in Los Angeles County. The company’s 40,000-acre manufacturing facility in Pomona has employed at hundreds of people for 35 years.

Looking for an portable and environmentally friendly speaker for your smart phone? Founded in 2012, eco-made manufactures its iPhone speaker amplifier in Los Angeles. Buy one here.

This is a small snapshot of the manufacturing sector in LA. The region is also home to aircraft, surgical, and defense manufacturing.So, while people may think of Hollywood when they picture L.A., the sprawling metropolitan area moonlights as a thriving industrial region.

Post researched and co-written by AAM intern Pamela Tom-Jack.

Image by Flickr user jondoeforty1, used following Creative Commons guidelines.

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