California’s Gross Domestic Product is an estimated $2.7 trillion, making it the 5th largest economy in the world.
Foreign trade is critical to California’s economy, supporting more than 4.7 million jobs. California leads the nation in agriculture and services exports, and is second in manufactured goods exports.
Here is how trade benefits three important sectors of California’s economy:
The services sector, which includes professional services and jobs in hotels and restaurants, has led California’s economic recovery since the 2008 recession. In 2014, 66 percent of new California jobs were in the services sector.
In 2013, California exported $114 billion in services, a 58 percent growth over 2006.
California’s top services exports include:
- Business, professional and technical services ($24.2 billion).
- Royalties and license fees ($36.1 billion).
- Travel services ($25.4 billion).
In 2014, California exported $174.1 billion in merchandise. Over the past 10 years, exports from California to free trade partners grew by 50 percent. More than 75,000 California companies export goods, and 95 percent of those are small- or medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Since 2009, jobs in California related to merchandise trade increased by 11 percent.
Computer and electronic products, which accounted for $42.7 billion (24.5 percent) of total merchandise exports in 2014, is the largest category of manufactured exports.
California’s agriculture industry, the largest in the United States, also relies heavily on export markets. In 2013, California’s agricultural exports were valued at $21.2 billion, nearly half the $46.4 billion output from the state’s 77,900 farms.
Trade is essential for the global agricultural economy, since there is an advantage to growing certain crops in specific regions and during specific seasons.
California produces about 80 percent of all the almonds consumed in the world. Almonds account for approximately 25 percent of California’s agricultural exports. California almonds are estimated to create 104,000 jobs in California and add $11 billion to the state’s economy.
Trade Adjustment Assistance
Despite the benefits of trade to California and its economy, Senator Feinstein recognizes that trade has a negative effect on some American workers. That’s why she strongly supports Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA provides workers who have been displaced by trade job with retraining and other assistance.
In June 2015, Senator Feinstein voted for legislation to renew the Trade Adjustment Assistance program through June 30, 2021, with a $450 million annual budget.
In fiscal year 2013, 7,609 Californians received training under the program.
The Department of Labor estimates that since 1975, more than two million workers have relied on this program to receive supplemental income assistance and additional training needed to find new employment.