The largest manufacturing workforce in the country is based in the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana metropolitan area, according to government figures.
As of July, the region had 510,900 manufacturing workers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Producers in Chicago and the surrounding cities employ 408,100 workers; in New York, northern New Jersey and Long Island, there are 356,100 manufacturing workers.
Probably because of the Southland’s massive size and long history as a manufacturing base, companies there have far more workers on their payrolls than do similar businesses to the north.
At the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose has 160,900 manufacturing workers while San Francisco, Oakland and Fremont have 118,400 workers.
In Los Angeles, major manufacturing sectors include transportation equipment, apparel, fabricated metal products, computers and electronics, according to data from the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
Goldbrecht-Systems USA of Culver City is pumping up hiring on its production floors after making substantial investments in engineering and product development, Chief Executive James Tschortner said.
The company makes oversized windows, advanced sliding glass doors and other fenestration options. It has one manufacturing facility in Santa Fe Springs and another in Culver City, manned by 15 workers and computer-aided machines.
Tschortner would like to add five more workers this year.
“We need additional staff to take care of all this demand,” he said of the burgeoning popularity of his products.
But finding qualified workers has been difficult in Los Angeles, Tschortner said.
“The education level and skill sets of the workers here is not ideal,” he said. “We’ve been looking at using more machines.”
The overall industry head count is shrinking in the Southland, shedding 14,400 workers since July 2013, according to the government. The shift is partly the result of increasing automation, but offshoring and improving productivity are also factors.
Manufacturing now makes up just 9.1% of total non-farm jobs in the area, compared with 16.3% in San Jose, 16.7% in Merced and 18.2% in Napa.
Manufacturers in the Elkhart-Goshen metropolitan area in Indiana, known for producing recreational vehicles and pre-fab housing, are responsible for 47.8% of all jobs -- a national high.