Creating new jobs is a tricky endeavor. Layoffs, however, appear to be rather simple.
This week it was reported that over 250 jobs would be cut in the coming months in Ventura County: 155 at Oxnard Lemon Company, which was recently acquired by Limoneira though the company stated it would like to retain some of the employees after the acquisition; 57 at Orchard Supply Hardware stores, which is closing nationwide; and 56 at Brasseler, a medical instrument producer. Suffice it to say, job loss is never a good thing.
Ventura County’s job market has had its own ebbs and flows for the last decade, just like any other metropolitan area. While the California Lutheran University Center for Economic Research and Forecasting (CERF) will update its annual forecast and current job market conditions on Nov. 8, for 2006 to 2016, the most recent market analysis shows industries in flux.
For those 10 years, the most significant reductions reported in the CERF Ventura County 10-Year Employment by Occupation Forecast were in office and administrative support, a loss of 8,650 jobs; construction and extraction, a loss of 7,130 jobs; and production, with 3,710 jobs lost. Other industries with notable job losses were transportation and material moving (1,610 jobs); building and grounds cleaning and maintenance (1,160); architectural and engineering (980); and life, physical and social sciences (880). The forecast showed further deterioration in all of those industries over the next 10 years, and added farming, fishing and forestry, which had lost only 270 jobs over the last 10 years but are predicted to lose over 1,100 jobs in the coming 10. It seems the prediction has merit, given the recent announcement.
There is good news, however, in that the forecast predicted overall job growth of 6.1 percent in the next decade. Industries that have grown and are predicted to continue to grow include business and financial operations; community and social services; education, training and library services; health-care practitioners and technical; food preparation and serving; personal care and services; and installation, maintenance and repair, to name the areas with the most significant growth predictions.
There is also some legislative help when it comes to job growth, such as Congresswoman Julia Brownley, D-Westlake Village, having secured $250,000 in federal funding via the U.S. Department of Agriculture for San Miguel Produce, based in Oxnard, “to help create jobs in Ventura County and support California’s leafy green growers.” It’s not clear how many jobs $250,000 will create, but as we know and have seen, it takes an investment to grow just about anything. We are cautious, though, about depending on the government for job creation.
We wonder, beyond federal grants, what it will take for exponential job growth and prosperity in Ventura County. Perhaps more spending power among residents would help, and that includes a serious look at what it costs to live here versus what the jobs pay and how to get the two areas to balance. New housing construction is only one part of the solution. Proximity to the beach and good weather are not good excuses for Ventura County’s job market to flounder.