No California region has an advanced materials LQ higher than one. The regions with strong specialties in advanced materials include industrial economies in the upper Midwest and South. Efforts to develop manufacturing economies around advanced materials or appliances will be stymied by higher land and labor costs in California, relative to the Industrial South and Midwest.
While California is not specialized in the Energy Appliance and Materials Industries sector, it might still benefit from efforts to turn traditional manufacturing jobs into green manufacturing. The skill base and industrial base for traditional and energy efficient appliances is very similar. The American Rescue Plan Act could help support further growth in this industry: it sets aside state and local funding for water infrastructure, that might include energy-efficient systems. The emergence of “mass timber”55 as a viable building material is another potential opportunity for further job formation in California’s Energy Appliance and Materials Industry: the state has a surplus of raw material to manufacture mass timber and the product may be more suited to California’s urban housing markets, due to its lower weight and earthquake stability. Lower weight also means lower shipping costs and, therefore, more opportunity to centralize production in a single region. Mass timber is still in the early stage of its technology cycle and is therefore more intensive in research and development functions than most other materials. This is good news for research centers on the California coast.
55 Roberts, D. “The hottest new thing in sustainable building is, uh, wood.” Vox. January 15, 2020. Available at: