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California Trade Report for August 2022

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Below are highlights from the recently released trade data from the US Census Bureau and US Bureau of Economic Analysis. To view additional data and analysis related to the California economy visit our website at www.centerforjobs.org/ca.

The August data, especially when viewed in real terms, saw continued erosion in the state’s trade posture. Total trade through the state’s ports was up 10.3% over the year in nominal terms, just staying barely ahead of inflation in this period. Texas ports, however, clocked in with a 29% nominal gain in total trade. In August, Port of New York and New Jersey became the leading port measured by container movement (TEUs), ahead of Long Beach (2nd) and Los Angeles (3rd) as cargo shifts to avoid the West Coast congestion and potential labor actions.

As measured by the New York Federal Reserve Global Supply Chain Pressure Index, supply congestion continued easing globally in recent months, still at substantially elevated levels but reflecting the current slow up in global trade and emerging recessionary pressures.

Source: New York Federal Reserve

Within California, congestion off the San Pedro Bay ports similarly eased from last month, with the most recent report for October 5 indicating 17 ships (but no container ships) at anchor or loitering. As with the global results, supply congestion is easing but remains an issue, especially when incorporating the shift to inland congestion as the result of ongoing warehouse and trucking shortages. More importantly, the source of that easing is coming more from a softening of trade flows as inflationary and recessionary factors are growing rather than steps to improve trade infrastructure and operating efficiencies.

Share of Goods through US Ports

CA Share Of Total Trade
Through US Ports

The share of total US goods trade (exports and imports) through California ports continued dropping to 16.42% (12 month moving average; compared to 16.51% in July 2022 and 17.69% in August 2021).

California remained the #2 state, behind Texas with 19.37% (compared to 19.23% in July 2022 and 17.46% in August 2021). Trade through the Atlantic port states was at 29.59% (compared to 29.67% in July 2022 and 30.37% in August 2021). While declining, the state’s position in this area forms the trade-related base for one of California’s largest centers of middle-class, blue-collar jobs. In the most recent numbers for August, Transportation & Warehousing continued to be the primary growth industry in the state, providing 777,200 wage and salary jobs.

California Goods Exports

Billion Change In Exports

Total California goods exports were up $0.8 billion from August 2021 (up 5.2%) in nominal terms but dropped in real terms. California remained in 2nd place with 9.24% of all US goods exports (12 month moving total), behind Texas at 23.37%.

California Goods Imports

Billion Change In Imports

Total California destination goods imports were up $2.3 billion from August 2021 (up 5.7%) in nominal terms, but as well showed a drop in real terms. Compared to pre-pandemic August 2019, imports were up $8.0 billion (22.8%), indicating a strong rise in both nominal and real terms.

Top 20 Exports, August 2022

The top 20 exports by value are shown below, along with the change from August 2021.

Top 10 Export Markets, August 2022