Wednesday, 8 June 2016

San Joaquin County in top 10% of U.S. Counties in both job growth and wage growth in 4th quarter of 2015 as the number of warehousing jobs doubles.

New data showing the strength of the economic recovery in the Stockton-Lodi MSA continue to come in.  Today’s release of the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for the 4th quarter of 2015 may be the strongest sign yet that this area that was the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis is on the rebound.

Over the 12-month period ending in December 2015, San Joaquin County had 4.2% gain in employment (27th best of 343 large U.S. counties), and a 7.1% gain in the average weekly wage (28th best of 343 large U.S. counties).  While many California counties were in the top 10% of one of these categories, San Joaquin County was the only one in the top decile of both.  Other California counties in the top decile of job growth were Placer, Riverside, Stanislaus, and San Francisco.  Other California counties in the top decile for wage growth were Santa Clara and San Luis Obispo.

In the table below, I show the 5 sectors that added at least 1,000 jobs in San Joaquin County over the past year.

Sector Dec 2015 jobs 12 month change % ch jobs  Avg weekly wage % ch wage
Construction  10,454 1,485 16.60% $1,162 7.80%
Ag. & Nat. Res. 13,402 1,893 16.40% $673 4.20%
Warehousing 10,645 5,594
110.75%
$932
-14.57%
Local Govt. 31,658 1,684 5.60% $1,094 9.30%
State Govt. 6,435 2,423 60.40% $1,029 -0.60%

Warehousing is the sector that jumps off the page, as the Amazon driven expansion has more than doubled warehousing jobs in the County.  And just recently, Amazon announced another 1 million square foot expansion in Tracy so the number of warehousing jobs will only rise from here.  However, these new warehousing jobs in fullfillment centers do not pay as well as the traditional warehouse jobs.  Average weekly wage in the sector fell by nearly 15%, and it isn’t clear whether this is due to more part-time jobs, lower hourly wages or a combination of both.  From the data, it appears the new warehousing/fulfillment jobs average less than $800 per week - which is closer to traditional retail jobs than warehouse jobs - and it is the retail jobs that the fulfillment centers are displacing.  Despite the drop in average wages in warehousing, overall average wages in San Joaquin County increased as most sectors reported strong wage gains.
 
It is important to note that the 12 month data shown in this report fits in between California minimum wage hikes to $9 on July 1, 2014 and $10 on January 1, 2016.  Thus, there should be little direct effect from the minimum wage increase although some employers may have boosted wages in anticipation of the mandated change.  However, much of the average wage increase can also be attributed to significant increases to employment in higher-paying sectors such as construction and government.
 

About the Author

Ethan Jacob

Author & Editor

I am Ethan Jacob Executive Director of the Center for Business and Policy Research at the University of the Pacific, where I have a joint faculty appointment in the Eberhardt School of Business and the Public Policy Program in the McGeorge School of Law..

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