Year over year, the overall value of products exported from California grew by 6.8% compared to $174.9 billion during 2021.
California is America’s second-biggest exporter by state behind oil-rich Texas. The value of California’s exports equals 9% of the United States’ overall exported product sales for 2022. That percentage reflects a drop from 10% in 2021.
California’s exported products represent an estimated 5.1% of the state’s total economic output or nominal Gross Domestic Product in 2022 ($3.63 trillion).
The most valuable products shipped from California are civilian aircraft including engines or other parts, machines for manufacturing semi-conductor devices or parts and accessories for those machines. Combined, those commodities generate nearly one-tenth (8.6%) of California’s total export sales during 2022..
Given California’s population of 39.1 million people, its total $185.5 billion in 2022 exported products translates to roughly $4,750 for every resident in “The Golden State”–up from $4,500 in 2021.
California’s unemployment rate was 4.1% at December 2022 down from 5.8% in one year earlier, per YCharts.
California’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in California global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from California.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Civilian aircraft including engines, parts: US$6 billion (3.2% of California’s total exports)
- Machinery for making semi-conductor devices: $5.5 billion (2.9%)
- Parts or accessories for making semi-conductor devices: $4.5 billion (2.4%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $4.4 billion (2.4%)
- Electronic integrated circuits: $4.3 billion (2.3%)
- Diamonds (unmounted): $4.2 billion (2.3%)
- Computer parts and accessories: $3.6 billion (1.9%)
- Refined petroleum oils excluding biodiesel: $3.28 billion (1.8%)
- Shelled almonds $3.26 billion (1.8%)
- Electric vehicles: US$2.9 billion (1.6%)
California’s top 10 exports represent almost a quarter (22.6%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Refined petroleum oils excluding biodiesel became the fastest grower among California’s top 10 export categories, up by 114.8% from 2021 to 2022. In second place for improving export sales were parts and accessories for machinery for manufacturing semi-conductor devices thanks to a 15.1% gain. Shipments of civilian aircraft including engines or other parts posted the third-fastest improvement via a 9.1% increase in value.
The severest decliners among California’s top 10 export products were electric vehicles (down -16.6%) and machines that make semi-conductor devices (down -12.4%).
More Key Facts about California’s Exports
Overall, California incurred a -$323.2 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2022. That dollar amount reflects a 9.4% year-over-year expansion from -$295.4 billion in red ink in 2021.
Another way of saying surplus or deficit is positive or negative net exports. In a nutshell, the term “net exports” quantifies the amount by which foreign spending on a state’s goods or services exceeds or lags that same state’s spending on foreign goods or services.
Below are California’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2021.
- Crude petroleum oils: US$28.9 billion (5.7% of California’s total imports)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $20.2 billion (4%)
- Small portable digital computers: $18.2 billion (4.3%)
- Computer parts and accessories: $15.2 billion (3%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $11.1 billion (2.2%)
- Smartphones: $10.5 billion (2.1%)
- Miscellaneous reception equipment including color television: $7.3 billion (1.4%)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $7.2 billion (1.4%)
- Solid-state semi-conductor storage devices: $6.93 billion (1.4%)
- Wheeled toys including scooters: $6.88 billion (1.4%)
California has highly negative net exports in the international trade of automobiles, small portable digital computers, crude petroleum and computer parts or accessories. In turn, these cashflows indicate California’s strong competitive disadvantages under these product categories thus highlighting the strong impact of foreign-made goods on California’s global balance sheet.
California’s Major Trading Partners
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased roughly two-thirds (66%) worth of the total value of products exported from California during 2022.
- Mexico: US$30.8 billion (16.6% of California’s total exports)
- Canada: $20.1 billion (10.8%)
- China: $18.2 billion (9.8%)
- Japan: $11.61 billion (6.3%)
- South Korea: $11.58 billion (6.2%)
- Taiwan: $10.4 billion (5.6%)
- India: $6 billion (3.3%)
- Hong Kong: $5.6 billion (3%)
- Singapore: $5.2 billion (2.8%)
- Malaysia: $3 billion (1.6%)
California’s top trade partners in North America, Canada and Mexico, account for over one-quarter (27.4%) of the overall value of exported goods from the state. That percentage falls below the 38.5% for top Asian countries that are leading customers for exports from California.
California Export Companies
Fifty-three of California-headquartered corporations rank among America’s leading companies showcased in the Fortune 500 listing. Selected examples are listed below, sorted by highest revenues.
- Apple Inc. (computer hardware, software)
- McKesson Corporation (pharmaceuticals, medical technology)
- Chevron Corporation (petroleum, natural gas, petrochemicals)
- Wells Fargo (multinational financial services)
- Alphabet Inc (technology, autonomous cars, software)
- Intel Corporation (microprocessors, chips, mobile phones, flash memories)
- Hewlett-Packard (computer hardware, software)
- Cisco Systems (telecom equipment, networking hardware)
- Oracle (servers, workstations, storage devices, middleware)
- Gilead Sciences (pharmaceuticals, biotechnology products)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related product categories in which each business deals.
California’s capital city is Sacramento, nicknamed “The City of Trees” and “Sactown”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
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