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Oakland Wiki Taxonomy




Oakland experienced a major population boom associated with huge investment from defense industries for WWII mobilization (specifically for shipbuilding, airports, etc.). The years after WWII are at the root of the decades-long economic recession that the city is only now arguably recovering from.

To quote Douzet,

"What happened next followed the classic distressing pattern experienced by many large American industrial cities. The move form an industrial to a service economy wiped out unskilled jobs. Companies relocated to prosperous suburbs. The decline in investment in major infrasturcutre projects slowed hiring. The lack of massive investment in public education and in retraining programs made it impossible to prepare the workforce for the new labor market. The exodus of the food-processing industry probably had the most telling consequences, since it was by far the largest employer in the region. Between 1960 and 1967, Oakland lost 5,000 jobs in that sector, although in 1967 it still represented 30 percent of all manufacturing employment.

By the end of the 1940s, the tendency toward suburbanization was making itself felt; it sharply increase din the early 1950s. All industrial sectors were affected, with the notable exception of hte port of Oakland, which, like the airport, benefited from military requirements and from investments. The port managers later converted their activities by leasing the port's docks to shipping companies and terminal operators. Oakland was one of the first ports on the West Coast to invest massively in the new techniques of container shipping. In 2006 it was the fourth largest container port in the US.

In spite of these assets, in 1976, more than one-tenth of companies with more than 25 employees (35 ut of 330) that had been located in the city in 1970 were either out of business or had left Oakland. only 4 of the 35 left the state, while 4 chose other large cities in California. Ten companies closed their doors, and the other 17 stayed in the region. Hence, it was less the attraction of other cities than the rejection by Oakland that seems to have driven the decisions. But the city of Oakland had undeniable assets: an infrstructure suited for international trade, an expanding international airport, a large industrial port, the terminals of three transcontinental railroad networks, the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, and a location at the convergence of six major highways. Yet businessmen had many grievances: too much crime, too costly insurance, not enough space for development, urban congestion, narrow streets, not enough parking, difficult relations with unions. These arguments carried weight for a long time and, despite exceptional assets, the city's economic conditions continued to deteriorate until the late 1990s because of the painful economic shifts in process." [Douzet, 2012, 69-70]


Pages tagged “economic history”

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