The California Counties Most Vulnerable to a Trade War

Trade wars are not easy.

Since the U.S. and China began striking first blows in what could become a nasty import-export spat, the possible fallout from retaliatory tariffs has become increasingly clear.

So far, the national conversation has focused mostly on the Midwest, where Donald Trump was able to woo the pork and soybean farmers likely to suffer under a tariff war. But as the world’s fifth largest food supplier, California also has plenty to lose.

It’s not just farming. California could feel the pinch from tariffs in plastics, aircrafts, and pharmaceuticals as well. In fact, a new study from the Brookings Institution has identified 40 industries that would suffer under retaliatory tariffs from China, many of which are based right here in the Golden State.

“Far from the Midwestern factory belt, California is heavily affected by the potential tariffs with Napa Valley wines; Central Valley vegetables, fruit, and berry growers; and Los Angeles plastics,” the researchers write.

According to Brookings, Los Angeles County has the highest number of jobs at risk. About 40,000 Angelenos work in an industry that could be affected by Chinese tariffs. But the diversification of L.A.’s economy means it could handle the blow better than others parts of the state where vulnerable industries command a massive share of the job force.

Brookings provides a county-by-county breakdown of employment in affected industries. Below is a list of 10 California counties with the highest share of employment in a single industry likely to be impacted by Chinese tariffs.

1 Napa 16.9%
2 Colusa 14.1%
3 Glenn 9.7%
4 Sutter 8.6%
5 Kings 8.0%
6 Merced 7.5%
7 Santa Cruz 7.5%
8 Ventura 6.8%
9 Tehama 6.6%
10 Monterey 6.3%

Read more at Brookings and the Sacramento Bee.

See also:

California Reacts to the Drum Beats of Trade War