10/31/2020

Reports » Trade Reports

California Trade Report for May 2020

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 May data shows deeper effects stemming from the global supply disruptions that began with the closures in China. As shown in the table below, goods trade with China, Hong Kong, and Macau through the state’s ports was down 10.8% from the year earlier, a marked improvement from the March slide of 34.0% but showing erosion from the April numbers. May exports to this area were little changed from April, but imports were down substantially—an indication of lowered consumer spending along with continued global supply chain disruptions as Chinese production struggles to revive first in the face of the previous closures and second as they deal with a continuing wave of canceled orders.

Trade through California Ports ($ billion):
China, Hong Kong, Macau
May 2019 May 2020 Change
Exports $3.9 $3.7 -5.6%
Imports $17.5 $15.4 -11.9%
Total Trade Activity $21.4 $19.1 -10.8%

Share of Goods through US Ports

17.4%
CA Share of Total Trade
Through US Ports

The share of total US goods trade (exports and imports) through California ports rose to 17.43% (12 month moving average; compared to 17.35% in Apr 2020 and 17.97% in May 2019).

California remained the #2 state, behind Texas with 17.51% (compared to 17.8% in Apr 2020 and 17.69% in May 2019). Trade through the Atlantic port states was at 30.23% (compared to 30.02% in Apr 2020 and 29.54% in May 2019). The state’s continued strength in this area forms the trade-related base for one of California’s largest centers of middle-class, blue-collar jobs. Transportation & Warehousing alone provided 596,000 jobs in May (down from 629,100 in May 2019), paying an average annual salary of $62.0k. This employment base in turn supports additional blue-collar and white-collar jobs in a range of other industries.

California Goods Exports Drop

-$4.9
Billion in Exports

Total California goods exports dropped $4.9 billion from May 2019 (down 32%). California remained in 2nd place with 10.56% of all US goods exports (12 month moving total), behind Texas at 20.26%.

California's Balance for Goods Trade

-$16.7
Billion of Goods Trade

California’s balance of goods trade activity through state businesses narrowed to -$16.7 billion, compared to a level of -$20.6 billion in May 2019. California trade accounted for 23% of the US trade deficit in goods in May 2020.

Top 20 Exports, May 2020

Top 20 exports by value are shown below, along with the change from May 2019.

By shipping weight (vessel and air total), the leading export was Waste & Scrap at 0.8 billion kg (29% of total exports), followed by Petroleum & Coal Products at 0.7 billion kg (24%), and Other Agricultural Products at 0.2 billion kg (8%).

Commodity May 2020 Exports ($b.) Change from May 2019
Semiconductors & Other Electronic Components $0.7 -13.7%
Fruits & Tree Nuts 0.7 -7.2%
Navigational/measuring/medical/control Instruments 0.7 -14.9%
Industrial Machinery 0.7 1.8%
Computer Equipment 0.6 -17.7%
Pharmaceuticals & Medicines 0.5 -7.3%
Aerospace Products & Parts 0.4 -43.3%
Communications Equipment 0.4 -43.0%
Medical Equipment & Supplies 0.3 -44.2%
Waste & Scrap 0.3 -25.4%
Electrical Equipment & Components, Nesoi 0.3 -20.3%
Motor Vehicles 0.3 -69.9%
Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities 0.2 -82.1%
Dairy Products 0.2 29.6%
Foods, Nesoi 0.2 -1.2%
Basic Chemicals 0.2 -5.2%
Other General Purpose Machinery 0.2 -24.2%
Commercial & Service Industry Machinery 0.2 -23.7%
Petroleum & Coal Products 0.2 -61.9%
Plastics Products 0.2 -18.1%

Top 10 Export Markets, May 2020

Country May 2020 Exports ($b) Change from May 2019
Mexico $1.4 -39.3%
China 1.2 -25.2%
Canada 1.1 -25.1%
Korea, South 0.8 8.2%
Japan 0.7 -28.3%
Taiwan 0.6 4.3%
Hong Kong 0.4 -48.4%
Netherlands 0.4 -34.4%
Germany 0.4 -30.2%
Belgium 0.3 -63.2%