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FACT SHEET: Unlocking Economic Opportunity for California: Made-in-America Exports and Manufacturing

President Obama’s trade agenda will unlock opportunity for California workers and businesses – strengthening the American middle class

In 2014, California exported a record-breaking $174.1 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world, $149.8 billion of those exports were manufactured products. In 2013, California exports of goods supported 802 thousand jobs, exports of manufactured products alone supported an estimated 668,000 jobs that year.

Trade is a key driver of California’s economy, and President Obama’s two highest trade priorities, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP), will give California and the United States enhanced access to three out of California’s largest five export markets – Canada, Mexico, and Japan.  What’s more, TPP and T-TIP will include California’s top 3 of 4 sources of foreign investment: Japan, the United Kingdom, and France (as of 2011, the latest year available).

These agreements will also help American manufacturing by raising labor and environmental standards throughout the Asia-Pacific region, levelling the playing field for U.S. workers and businesses.

Made-in-America Exports and Manufacturing Jobs in the United States

  • In 2014, U.S. manufacturing exports reached a record of over $1.4 trillion.
  • An estimated 1 in 4 manufacturing jobs are supported by exports
  • Nationally it is estimated that exports of manufactured products supported 6.2 million jobs in 2013.
  • Manufacturing exports account for almost 88% of all jobs supported by the export of goods and almost 55 percent of all jobs supported by both goods and services exports.

Made-in-America Exports and Manufacturing Jobs in California

  • California exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 668 thousand jobs in 2013.
  • In 2011 (latest year available), over one-fourth (25.2 %) of all manufacturing workers in California depended on exports for their jobs.
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is computer and electronic products, which accounted for $42.7 billion of California's total merchandise exports in 2014.
  • Other top manufacturing exports are transportation equipment ($18.7 billion), machinery ($14.9 billion), miscellaneous manufactured commodities ($14.6 billion), and chemicals ($14.0 billion).

Exports Support Jobs in California and Across the United States

  • 802,000 jobs were supported by California goods exports in 2013.
  • In 2014, California goods exports were $174.1 billion, an increase of 58%, or $64.0 billion, from its export level in 2004.
  • Total exports from California helped contribute to the record-setting value of U.S. goods and services exports in 2014, which were over $2.3 trillion.
  • Nationally, jobs supported by exports of goods and services reached 11.7 million in 2014, up 1.8 million since 2009.
  • Every billion dollars of U.S. exports of goods supported an estimated 5,200 jobs in 2013.
  • Jobs supported by goods exports pay an estimated 13% to 18% above the national average.

Exports Sustain Thousands of California Businesses

  • A total of 75,012 companies exported from California locations in 2012. Of those, 71,921 (95.9 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
  •  Small and medium-sized firms generated over two-fifths (44.6 percent) of California's total exports of merchandise in 2012.

California Depends on World Markets

  • California’s export shipments of merchandise in 2014 totaled $174.1 billion.
  • The state’s largest market was Mexico. California posted merchandise exports of $25.4 billion to Mexico in 2014, representing 14.6 percent of the state’s total merchandise exports.
  • Mexico was followed by Canada ($18.2 billion), China ($16.1 billion), Japan ($12.3 billion), and South Korea ($8.6 billion)
  • California’s state exports of goods to the 20 existing FTA countries totaled $70.4 billion in 2013, 40% of California’s total goods exports to the world. 
  • California is the country’s largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $19.5 billion in agricultural exports abroad in 2013 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture). It is the largest state exporter of processed fruit and nuts ($7.3 billion), fresh fruit ($3.5 billion), other plant products ($2.3 billion), processed vegetables ($1.6 billion), and dairy products ($1.3 billion).

California Will Benefit from President Obama’s Trade Agenda

  • President Obama’s top trade priorities are the negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership with the Asia-Pacific Region and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union – two state-of-the-art agreements that will unlock opportunity in the United States by fostering economic growth, supporting jobs, and bolstering our competitiveness.
  • Three out of California’s top five export markets will be covered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (Canada, Mexico, and Japan), making it easier for California workers, farmers and ranchers, and businesses to sell more Made-in-America exports to California’s main customers.
  • 41% of California’s exports ($71.8 billion) already go to TPP countries. 
  • 17% of California’s exports ($29.6 billion) already go to T-TIP countries.

International Investment Creates Jobs in California

  • In 2011 (latest year available), foreign-controlled companies employed 590,100 California workers. Major sources of foreign investment in California in 2011 included Japan, United Kingdom, France, and Switzerland.
  • Foreign investment in California was responsible for 4.9 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2011.

California’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

In 2013, the following metropolitan areas in California recorded goods exports:

  • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim ($76.3 billion)
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward ($25.3 billion)
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara ($23.4 billion)
  • San Diego-Carlsbad ($17.9 billion)
  • Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario ($9.6 billion)
  • Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade ($5.8 billion)
  • Bakersfield ($3.7 billion)
  • El Centro ($3.2 billion)
  • Fresno ($3.1 billion)
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura ($2.9 billion)