Manufacturing employment in Los Angeles County has been on the decline for the past two decades, but there may be some signs of a turnaround even if only temporary.

Adecco SA, a $26 billion global staffing firm with a significant local presence, has seen a surge in placement requests for temporary workers among manufacturing companies in the county.

"A lot of my manufacturing and distribution clients have been busier in the last couple of months than they were last year," said Mara Klug, regional vice president in the company's L.A. office, which services more than 200 local manufacturing companies each week.

Klug said it does not appear that the temporary employees are replacing permanent workers. Instead, the industry appears to be buoyed by a boom in exports, which have become more cost-competitive in foreign markets as the value of the dollar has declined.

"A lot of people probably are seeing more orders from abroad," said Jack Kyser, chief economist for the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. "They could be seeing increased orders but they're not sure how long these new orders will stick around."

The boost in temporary workers is a positive sign, he said, but overall manufacturing employment in the county is still declining. According to the LAEDC, manufacturing in the county should decrease in 2008 by about 5,000 jobs to 448,000. The sector has lost more than 150,000 jobs since 2000, but the declines are much smaller than they were during the 1990s.

War of Words

The Government Accountability Office is expected next month to announce whether the $35 billion aerial fueling tanker contract awarded in February to Northrop Grumman Corp. and its European partner should be overturned.
But in a sign of the times, the PR battle with passed-over favorite Boeing Co. is raging on the Internet.

The Chicago-based defense contractor has challenged the decision, saying the competition was slanted in favor of its competitors, which includes the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.

And recently, a security analyst and a group of Washington-based legislative assistants started, a Web site allowing "those concerned" about the award of the contract to a European entity to vent their frustrations.
One entry calls into question the job statistics touted by Los Angeles-based Northrop and EADS, which said their plane would create thousands of new jobs in Mobile, Ala. The blog refers to "all the phantom Alabama jobs it is supposedly creating."

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