Jobs in Palmdale, California, United States
Location and Population
Lancaster and Palmdale constitute a twin city complex in Antelope Valley, located just 9 miles apart on the edge of the Mojave Desert, north of the San Gabriel Mountains in Los Angeles County. Palmdale’s estimated population in 2016 was 157,000, with 27 percent foreign-born. Hispanics represented 55 percent of the total, Non-Hispanic Whites 22 percent, and Non-Hispanic Blacks/African Americans, 15 percent. Median household income has declined slightly since 2000. It is well below the statewide figure, but about the same as the nationwide figure. The cost of living is low, but unemployment and poverty have both increased and are now quite high.
Palmdale was settled in 1886 by German and Swiss Lutherans. It relied mainly on agriculture until World War II, when a small desert airfield near Palmdale was activated for military use. After the Korean War broke out, the Air Force bought the site for use in assembling and testing military jet aircraft, and in 1958 it opened Plant 42, a classified aircraft manufacturing plant. From 1968 to 1984 Lockheed operated a large facility adjacent to Plant 42 for engineering, parts manufacture and assembly of wide-bodied commercial jetliners.
Palmdale incorporated as a city in 1962 with a population of just 12,000 and it remained small for the next two decades. In the 1980s and 1990s construction of affordable housing in Lancaster and Palmdale led to their both becoming bedroom communities for Los Angeles. This caused a significant increase in population size, especially in Palmdale. Although demand for workers is variable, the aerospace industry is still the main source of employment. The Air Force and NASA both continue to use Plant 42, and defense contractors lease space there for military projects. A plan to develop an international airport at Palmdale never materialized, but the city operates the Palmdale Regional Airport with its own hangar and terminal and two runways shared with Plant 42. In order to diversify the city economy and create more stable employment alternatives, the city negotiated special tax breaks with state and federal authorities and offered municipal grants for new businesses locating in Palmdale. These incentives, coupled with affordable land and proximity to Palmdale Airport, have attracted a number of new world-class manufacturing companies and other business enterprises to the area. Antelope Valley Mall (since 1990) and Palmdale Regional Medical Center (since 2010) are also large employers.
Since 2005, Palmdale citizens have supported a number of initiatives to revitalize their downtown and improve city services: (i) a new transport hub for the Valley, (ii) major expansion of park and recreation facilities, (iii) many new senior housing units, a new senior center, and expanded open space in the downtown area, and (iv) a sheriff station and additional fire stations. Through a cooperative effort between law enforcement, landlords and community members, the Partners Against Crime Program has proven effective in reducing the crime rate.
What Makes Palmdale Special
Palmdale Amphitheater: Outdoor venue for movies and concerts organized by the city in the summer months.
Palmdale Playhouse: Community theater with both amateur and professional shows, and learning center for both performing and visual arts.
Antelope Valley Mall, Palmdale: An enclosed shopping mall, open since 1990, with over 140 stores, a recently-expanded Cinemark Movie complex, a food court and other eateries.
Antique Asylum, Palmdale: Ranked as the best antiques showroom in Antelope Valley, with lots of vendors selling genuine items, both large and small. SPECIALITY MUSEUMS
Blackbird Airpark: Outdoor air museum with walking trails that allow close-up viewing of the aircraft, informative displays on aviation history and knowledgeable staff.
SPORTS, RECREATION, OUT-OF-DOORS
Barrel Springs Trail: A hilly loop trail for walkers and joggers in a scenic landscape
Dry Town Water Park: A public park with water slides, playground area, lazy river with free tubes and life vests, and food vendors.
Rancho Vista Golf Course: A public PGA-listed 18-hole course and club house for the Valley.
Sierra Highway Bike Path, Palmdale Segment: Bike path linking Lancaster and Palmdale.
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