It was big news, but not particularly bad news, earlier this year when Northrop Grumman Corp. moved its top executives to Virginia to be closer to the defense and aerospace company's most important customer, the Pentagon. The move still left more than 20,000 employees in California.
But Northrop's announced this week that it's cutting 500 jobs in its aerospace division. The cuts appear to be a result of anticipated cuts and slowed growth in national defense spending. If those Pentagon cutbacks materialize, they could hit Northrop, and Southern California, particularly hard.
Despite the decline in the state's once dominant defense and aerospace industry, California still receives a little more than $1 in every $10 spent on defense. And those are good jobs.
The state has suffered in the recession, and may well have received too little in stimulus moneys (certainly, not enough to forestall big state spending cuts and temporary tax increases that don't help the economy). Now the state may suffer in the recovery, as the federal government cuts back that support -- and other spending that is vital to the state's economy.