Man­u­fac­tur­ing poised for bright fu­ture, ex­perts say

The Mercury News Weekend - - BUSINESS - By Ge­orgeA­va­los gava­los@ba­yare­anews­group.com

OAKLAND » Man­u­fac­tur­ing in the Bay Area has a bright fu­ture and al­ready ac­counts for a big chunk of the area’s jobs, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port pre­sented Thurs­day at a man­u­fac­tur­ing summit in Oakland.

The Bay Area has more than 340,000 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs, which ac­count for 10 per­cent of all jobs in the nine- county re­gion, the re­port by JLL, a com­mer­cial re­alty bro­ker­age, stated.

More than 7,500man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies are lo­cated in the Bay Area, the JLL study de­ter­mined.

“Bay Area man­u­fac­tur­ing is here to stay,” the re­port said.

The summit was the sec­ond or­ga­nized by the Bay Area Man­u­fac­tur­ing Ini­tia­tive, a non­profit formed to spur cre­ation of what the group calls an “in­ter­con­nected man­u­fac­tur­ing ecosys­tem” in the re­gion. The first event was held in San Fran­cisco in 2016. This year’s summit was held at a west Oakland ware­house.

“The Bay Area has one of the strong­est man­u­fac­tur­ing economies in the na­tion,” said Kate Sofis, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer with SFMade, a non­profit that is spear­head­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing summit ef­forts.

Sup­port­ers of a stronger man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor in the re­gion are at­tempt­ing to or­ga­nize a Bay Areaw­ide man­u­fac­tur­ing day.

“No longer will cities com­pete against each other for man­u­fac­tur­ing,” Oakland’s Mayor Libby Schaaf said in an ad­dress to the man­u­fac­tur­ing summit. “We all have to work to­gether and coop-

er­ate.”

Anum­berof­man­u­fac­tur­ers at­tended the event, held at the Po­plar Gallery in a West Oakland live-work in­dus­trial com­plex op­er­ated by Amer­i­can Steel Stu­dios. Among them was Chris Gregg, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of op­er­a­tions with Im­pos­si­ble Foods, a com­pany that de­vel­ops meat and cheese prod­ucts from plants.

“When we thought about lo­cat­ing the fa­cil­ity, putting it out­side of the Bay Area never came up,” Gregg told the group. “We needed to be near our sci­en­tists. We are here to stay.”

Gregg, how­ever, con­ceded that fac­tory pro­duc­tion in the Bay Area is un­ques­tion­ably chal­leng­ing, con­sid­er­ing la­bor, com­mer- cial prop­erty and hous­ing costs, along with a thicket of red tape in Cal­i­for­nia that ev­ery com­pany must un­tan­gle.

“Even though the cost of man­u­fac­tur­ing in the Bay Area is ex­pen­sive, the value of prox­im­ity to in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy out­weighs that cost,” Gregg said. “The Bay Area is so rich with tech­nol­ogy and in­no­va­tion.”

Of the Bay Area’s three ma­jor ur­ban cen­ters, how­ever, only the South Bay man­aged to add man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs over the most re­cent 12-month pe­riod, this news or­ga­ni­za­tion’s anal­y­sis of state la­bor sta­tis­tics has de­ter­mined.

“San Jose has a dif­fer­ent man­u­fac­tur­ing base, be­cause a lot of ours is tech man­u­fac­tur­ing, and con­tract work,” said Chris Bur­ton, a se­nior busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager with the city of San Jose. “We have a lot of land and space in San Jose to sup­port­more­man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies.”

Dur­ing the one-year pe­riod that ended in Septem­ber, Santa Clara County added 4,200 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs. That’s a 2.6 per­cent rise to 167,400 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs, in­clud­ing po­si­tions in com­puter elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures culled from the state Em­ploy­ment De­vel­op­ment Depart­ment.

Over the same year-long pe­riod, the East Bay lost 1,000 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs, for a 1.1 per­cent de­crease to 89,800 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs.

The San Fran­cisco- San Ma­teo re­gion lost 300man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs. That’s a 0.8 per­cent de­cline to 38,100 man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs at the end of Septem­ber.

“We need to sup­port, fight for, and cod­dle our man­u­fac­tur­ing space,” Mayor Schaaf said.

GE­ORGE AVA­LOS — STAFF

At­ten­dees at the 2017Bay Area Man­u­fac­tur­ing Summit in Oakland lis­ten to speak­ers at the event.

Schaaf

GE­ORGE AVA­LOS — STAFF

At­ten­dees at Bay Area Man­u­fac­tur­ing Summit in­spect cast-iron skil­lets pro­duced at AB&I Foundry in Oakland.

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