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Forecast for Growth in California Food Processing Employment

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The California Employment Development Department (EDD) has forecasted statewide employment in the food processing sector to increase by more than eight percent, representing more than 196,000 jobs, by 2024. This is a relatively modest growth rate, but the estimate does not include all the jobs created in related sectors such as packaging, equipment, transportation and energy. 

Currently there are about 181,000 full time employees in food and beverage manufacturing in California, and the food processing sector currently accounts for about 14 percent of total employment in California, and for a larger percentage in many counties.

The growth rates by 2024 may vary significantly by region and by type of processing. Food processing employment in Kern County is projected by EDD to increase by over 26 percent, and by 12 percent in Fresno County. Significant growth is also projected for Los Angeles County. Some counties, such as San Joaquin, may experience small declines in employment. Although overall food processing employment is projected to increase, employment by fruit and vegetable processors is expected to decline by over 13 percent by 2024. 


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