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.
With the West Coast labor situation resolved, the ports can now turn their attention to regaining lost traffic and the associated blue collar and related jobs that rely on this activity. Unfortunately, moving beyond this point also means the ports must now focus on other threats to this core jobs base, including the continued rise in operating costs especially energy and new regulatory threats that would place a cap on allowable port activity in the state.
The August trade results show a weakening in trade activity, reflecting both the challenges to trade in the state along with overall softening in the global trade numbers. In nominal terms, origin exports were down 6.2% from August 2022, destination imports down 10.7%, and overall trade through the state’s ports off 7.8%. Year-to-date, however, total trade through the state’s ports has been somewhat higher than the pre-pandemic years, although lower than the same period in 2022.
Accounting for the high inflation in recent years, however, total trade through the state’s ports has yet to return to the pre-pandemic levels. Through August, year-to-date trade is off 5.6% from the same period in 2019 in real terms (Jan 2019 dollars), and off 7.2% from the same period in 2018.