Concerns at home and abroad prompted California export trade to sag a bit in November.
Experts cited a port strike in Southern California and listless overseas markets including decreased demand for personal computers as primary reasons for the dip.
California exported goods valued at $13.33 billion in November, down 5.3 percent from $14.07 billion in November 2011, according to an analysis of Friday's U.S. Commerce Department trade figures by Beacon Economics, a consulting firm with offices in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.
Adjusting for inflation, Beacon put the "real" year-over-year decline at 7.5 percent. The state's October 2012 export total was $13.87 billion.
Beacon said November exports were affected by a labor action at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The International Longshore and Warehouse Union strike shut down 10 of 14 container terminals at the two ports in the last four days of November.
"Between 16 and 17 percent of California's merchandise export trade moves through these two ports," said Jock O'Connell, Beacon's international trade adviser. "While shippers certainly incurred financial losses attributable to delays in moving cargo through the two ports, the strike's impact on the state's overall export trade in November is largely an accounting matter. Cargo that didn't sail in November will more than likely turn up in December's export statistics."
Adding to the mix, California exports declined year-over-year in all three major trade segments.
Manufactured products in November fell 3.7 percent to $8.25 billion. Shipments of non-manufactured goods (mainly agricultural produce and raw materials) declined 8.6 percent to $1.96 billion, and re-exports were off 7.2 percent to $3.12 billion.
Beacon pointed to strong year-over-year percentage gains in California shipments of aircraft and aerospace equipment (43.7 percent) and edible fruits and nuts (10 percent).
While citing a generally favorable outlook for the first quarter of 2013, Jordan Levine, Beacon's director of economic research, noted: "During the second half of 2012, California's recovery outpaced the United States' in terms of employment, consumer spending and even the real estate market."
On the import side, California took in $32.91 billion in November, up from $32.16 billion in November 2011. Some goods entering California go to other states, so exports are considered a more accurate measure of the state's trade health.
Nationally, the U.S. trade deficit spiked more than 15 percent to $48.7 billion from October to November, the biggest gap in seven months.
Exports of goods and services increased only 1 percent to $182.6 billion. Federal officials said exports to economically volatile Europe fell 1.3 percent. Imports grew 3.8 percent to $231.3 billion.