SAN PEDRO, CA - FEBRUARY 10: Shipping containers are stacked on docks in the Port of Los Angeles on February 10, 2006 in San Pedro, California. The U.S. trade gap reached the third-highest level on record in December according to the Commerce Department, pushing the annual deficit to a record $725.8 billion, 17.5 percent more than in 2004. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
After dwelling on the state's bleak-and-getting-bleaker budget picture, let's look at some good economic news. In this export-oriented state, exports are creeping back up. Not nearly to the level they were at before the economic crisis began in late 2008. But still, the news is good.
Beacon Economics reported that exports were up more than $430 million in September 2010 from the previous month, and were up more than $1.9 billion from September 2009. Total exports for September 2010 amounted to more than $12 billion. Big jumps in exports to Taiwan and South Korea seemed to be driving the numbers.
One lingering concern for California policymakers. The state is not nearly as competitive as it should be, accounting for less than 12 percent of U.S. exports. In the early part of the last decade, California accounted for more than 15 percent of U.S. exports. The rebound in California has not improved the state's share of U.S. exports.
The top three destinations for our exports in September? Mexico, Canada and Japan, in that order. With China a close fourth. And what are our top exports? 1. electric machinery 2. industrial machinery (a category that includes computers) 3. optical/photo/medical equipment. 4. fruits and nuts 5. aircraft and spacecraft.