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California Trade Report for May 2024

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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 May trade numbers in general showed positive news for California. Both origin exports and destination imports were up compared to May 2023. In nominal dollars, total trade through the state’s ports rose in this period, and the share of total US trade, while remaining well below previous highs, continued edging up.

In nominal terms, total trade through the state’s ports in the first 5 months rose 7.9% over the year and 14.8% over pre-pandemic 2019, but still came in marginally lower than 2022.

In real terms, the first 5 months were 8.2% higher than in 2023 but only 1.6% than the same period in 2019.

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 edging up to 15.84% (12 month moving average; compared to 15.81% in April 2024 and 15.48% in May 2023).

California remained the #2 state, behind Texas with 20.19% (compared to 20.14% in April 2024 and 20.05% in May 2023). Trade through the Atlantic port states was at 29.78% (compared to 29.87% in April 2024 and 29.86% in May 2023). Although remaining in second place, the state’s continued position 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 755,300 jobs in May 2024, compared to 756,300 in May 2023.

California Goods Exports

Billion Change in Exports

Total California origin goods exports were up $0.7 billion from May 2023 (up 4.7%). California remained in 2nd place with 8.75% of all US goods exports (12 month moving total), behind Texas at 22.3%.

California Goods Imports

Billion Change in Imports

Total California destination goods imports rose $2.6 billion from May 2023 (up 6.9%).


Top 20 Exports, May 2024

Top 20 exports by value are shown below, along with the change from May 2023.

NAICS CommodityMay 2024 Exports ($b.)Change from May 2023
Computer Equipment$1.5136.7%
Fruits & Tree Nuts0.914.8%
Navigational/measuring/medical/control Instrument0.8-4.4%
Semiconductors & Other Electronic Components0.81.3%
Aerospace Products & Parts0.89.4%
Pharmaceuticals & Medicines0.713.8%
Communications Equipment0.6-1.6%
Medical Equipment & Supplies0.6-1.7%
Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities0.51.9%
Industrial Machinery0.5-13.3%
Electrical Equipment & Components, Nesoi0.59.8%
Waste & Scrap0.45.4%
Petroleum & Coal Products0.4-19.0%
Commercial & Service Industry Machinery0.422.7%
Motor Vehicles0.4-48.3%
Used or Second-hand Merchandise0.429.5%
Other General Purpose Machinery0.3-8.6%
Other Fabricated Metal Products0.312.7%
Foods, Nesoi0.325.2%
Motor Vehicle Parts0.2-35.8%

Top 10 Export Markets, May 2024

CountryMay 2024 Exports ($b.)Change from May 2023
Korea, South0.8-12.3%
Hong Kong0.525.4%