Op Ed by John Moreno
Is more industrial job growth in the future San Joaquin County? Looking at current trends we believe it is. Because of the position of the region within major transportation avenues including the freeways, rail, and shipping via the Stockton Port, industrial jobs will always be one of the primary factors of the regional economy. What remains to be seen is how the Industrial sector can be a more sustainable, environmental friendly presence that also provides for better economic opportunities and job growth.
Industrial jobs are already the fastest growing industry in the County with its importance ever increasing in the region. However, what’s needed for smarter growth is a future of industrial development that promotes sustainability as a more efficient use of transportation systems. This new model is also better for the environment putting industrial facilities into centralized hubs as opposed to spreading it out throughout the region, lessening its footprint on the environment and maximizing the use of existing infrastructure such as roads while also mitigating the impact on other local zoning such as residential neighborhoods.
This smart growth is also important for the regional job market since the location of good paying jobs are closer to housing where the workforce lives. Currently a great majority of regional industrial labor comes from the Central Valley. Concentrating industrial jobs in a more centralized location will impact the environment and quality of life by utilizing existing mass transit lines for employees as well. All of this will benefit the Central Valley by minimizing traffic as a result of commuting to the Bay Area resulting in reduced greenhouse gas emissions as a result of lesser vehicle miles traveled due to shorter commutes.
Demand for industrial industries and land use in the region is at an all-time high. And jobs in industrial/warehousing have grown by hundreds of percent in San Joaquin County in just the past 10 years and has been the fastest growing employment category for the last 5 years. This reality is undeniable and it will serve the regional population by maximizing the efficiency of job centers and growth moving forward.
Wages from industrial jobs also provide greater economic benefits. They are on average nearly 20% higher than the median income level for other jobs in region. Logistics and distribution center jobs of today are significantly different than those of prior years with greater use of technology to maximize efficiency and more environmentally friendly designs and procedures.