May container traffic coming into the Port of Los Angeles increased 12.5 percent from a year earlier, another sign that consumers have started to buy again. As we posted yesterday, that's sort of true, though by what degree varies quite a bit (this morning's lower-than-expected retail numbers for May suggest how precarious the recovery has been). Export traffic, which had been outpacing imports for many months, rose 5.3 percent (the Port of Long Beach hasn't yet released its numbers). Export growth is an especially good thing for L.A. because it indicates that many of the local factories chugging out stuff for overseas customers have seen an increase in business. More container traffic also means more jobs at the port and in other trade-related industries.
*The Port of Long Beach numbers look even stronger, with inbound traffic up 27 percent and outbound up 14.5 percent. One caveat on the reports from both ports: Year-ago results make for easy comparisons because the economy was in such terrible shape in 2009.