- The number of open jobs in transportation, warehousing and utilities grew from 258,000 in February to 345,000 in March, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
- The latest county-level data on warehouse and storage employment is from September 2018, when three counties in southern California topped the list for most workers in the sector. This was followed by counties in Arizona, New Jersey and Texas.
- Total hires in the sector were slightly down between February and March, totaling about 242,000 for the month.
The difference between San Bernardino County, California warehousing employment and the next largest workforce, Riverside County, California, is more than 12,000 employees. San Bernardino boasts a warehouse and storage workforce of more than 40,000, according to the latest county-level data.
San Bernardino, Riverside and Los Angeles County, California, which all border each other, combine for a total of about 90,555 employees in the warehouse and storage sector. In addition, some warehouse employees could be missed in these numbers, as some are reported as e-retail employees or temp workers, a BLS economist told Supply Chain Dive.
Los Angeles County is home to two of the busiest ports in the United States: the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. These two ports bring in hundreds of thousands of loaded containers every month, many of them coming from China and other Asian countries, which have to be stored somewhere before heading to their final destination. The combined area of Riverside County and San Bernardino County is often referred to as the Inland Empire and it's an empire increasingly ruled by storage.
The area already has millions of square feet of storage and still ranks second highest in industrial construction in the country with 22.7 million square feet in projects underway. The only market experiencing more construction is the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas region, according to a quarterly review by the real estate company Lee & Associates.
The region's warehouse boom has been significant enough to begin worrying some locals about what the future of their community might look like.
"It’s becoming chaos," Enrique Jaime told Next City last fall. "What are we going to leave our kids? A house surrounded by warehouses?"
Overall, the warehousing workforce is highly concentrated in urban areas, so some might be surprised by the market with the fourth largest warehousing workforce: Maricopa County, Arizona. Gregory Collins, a supply chain professor at Arizona State University, said a lot of distribution and warehousing has been moving from California to Arizona.
"Arizona is less expensive and more business friendly, and the area around the I-303 and I-10 corridor is undergoing significant distribution and warehousing development," Collins told Supply Chain Dive in an email.
It also helps that Maricopa County has easy access to the Mexican border. Phoenix, he said is "at the crossroads of products shipped into the US from Asia and Mexico" so it's a natural distribution and logistics destination.
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