Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted
International trade has been recovering steadily following the disastrous recession-related plunge in the second half of 2008 and first half of 2009. U.S. exports increased by 1.8 percent in December to $163.0 billion while imports grew by 2.6 percent to $203.5 billion. Since bottoming in mid-2009, imports and exports both have risen by about one-third. Exports, fueled by growing demand for U.S. goods and services from emerging global markets, are just 1.6 percent below their pre-recession peak. Imports are still 12.3 percent below their peak, reflecting the tepid recovery in spending by U.S. consumers. Even so, import-driven markets serving U.S. ports such as Southern California’s Inland Empire are experiencing solid demand for warehouse-distribution space. Overall, net absorption of industrial space across the U.S. totaled 24.2 million square feet in the fourth quarter, the strongest quarterly performance since the fourth quarter of 2007. Expect global trade to expand further in 2011, generating demand for all types of industrial space.