Federal Government Shutdown Stymies California Supply Chain Numbers

Beacon Economics' California Trade Report will not be released this month due to the Federal government shutdown. Import and export figures remain undisclosed.

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Beacon Economics’ California Trade Report will not be released this month due to the Federal government shutdown.

The U.S. Department of Commerce statistics necessary to analyze foreign trade for the month of August have become another casualty in the Congressional budget impasse that has shuttered non-essential Federal government operations since October 1.

“Federal government statisticians are not regarded as essential personnel, even though the information they provide allow us to chart the health of our economy,” said Jock O’Connell, Beacon Economics’ International Trade Adviser.

And it isn’t just numbers that are affected. “Many exports and imports, including steel, lumber, and computer equipment, cannot move over the border without specific permits from the Federal government - permits that aren’t being given because of the shut down,” said Beacon Economics’ Founding Partner Christopher Thornberg. “If they reopen the government soon, it shouldn’t have a serious effect, but if this continues for much longer real business will be lost, not delayed, and we could be facing broad negative consequences for the economy.”

O’Connell indicated that August’s trade statistics will eventually become available but he declined to speculate on when. “We’re not dealing with a situation in Washington that lends itself to rational expectations,” he said.

“It’s amazing and a bit frightening how our partisan politics have become so dysfunctional that pleasing narrow voter bases is more important than the health of the U.S. economy,” said Thornberg.

Beacon Economics will leave it’s September California Trade Report accessible until an update is possible.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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