Policy Analysis | February 2012

Exports Soar in 2011 to Record Heights, West Virginia Leads the Nation

Sujit CanagaRetna

West Virginia's exports soared to unprecedented levels in 2011, from $6.5 billion in 2010, to an astounding $9 billion in 2011, a 40 percent increase, the highest expansion rate among all the states. In responding to this notable achievement, West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin stated that "exports contribute greatly to West Virginia's growing and increasingly diverse economy. I commend the exporters of West Virginia for this incredible accomplishment." West Virginia Commerce Department Secretary Keith Burdette commented that "expanding export opportunities for West Virginia companies and products is a priority for this administration." West Virginia was not alone in recording impressive export growth rates and 49 of the 50 states saw a net increase in their exports in 2011; 36 of the states, including West Virginia, recorded double digit growth rates with 13 states expanding by single-digit rates and a mere one state seeing shrinking exports during the year.

The latest international trade statistics were released recently by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the data reveals the solid performance of the nation's exports in both resuscitating and sustaining the economic growth path of the United States. Specifically, U.S. exports in 2011 expanded to $1.5 trillion, an increase of 16 percent over the $1.3 trillion reached in 2010. During the height of the Great Recession, U.S. exports languished at $1 trillion in 2009 after reaching $1.1 trillion in 2007 and $1.3 trillion in 2008. The role of exports in advancing U.S. growth is reinforced by the fact that in 2011 they comprised a record 13.8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), an increase from the 12.7 percent secured in 2010 and the prior record level of 12.9 percent achieved in 2008. Not only did exports contribute to a greater share of GDP than gross private domestic investment in 2011, exports also contributed 0.9 percentage points to the 1.7 percent increase in real GDP last year. Hence, the achievements in 2011 offer promise for sturdy economic growth opportunities across the country.

Experts are quickly realizing that U.S. exports are a bright spark in the otherwise relatively anemic economic recovery currently in progress. For 11 consecutive quarters (between the second quarter of 2009 and the fourth quarter of 2011), U.S. exports have expanded and the expectation is for continued progress in this area, generating jobs and economic opportunities for Americans across the nation. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimates that every $1 billion in exports generates 15,000 jobs. A number of factors have propelled this solid export performance, including the low value of the dollar (which raises the competitiveness of U.S. products in international markets) and the strategic efforts of U.S. multinational corporations to market such items as aircraft, motor vehicles and petroleum products.

As noted earlier, total U.S. exports in 2011 amounted to $1.5 trillion. A number of SLC states loomed large in these calculations across a number of categories. Of the 36 states that secured double-digit growth rates, 10 states belonged to the SLC. For instance, Texas, with $250 billion in exports in 2011, was the state recording the highest value in exports. In terms of value, California was second with $159 billion. As noted earlier, West Virginia secured the highest percentage increase (40 percent) in exports in 2011 compared to the prior year among the 50 states followed by Utah (37 percent) and New Mexico (36 percent).

The largest export markets for the United States in 2011 (based on value) were Canada ($281 billion, an increase of 13 percent from the prior year), Mexico ($198 billion, an increase of 21 percent) and China ($104 billion, an increase of 13 percent). In terms of the product profiles of the items exported by the United States, the top five categories were transportation equipment; computer and electronic products; chemicals; machinery (except electrical products); and petroleum and coal products. A very significant development related to U.S. exports in 2011 involves the export of petroleum and coal products. During the year, the United States exported $101 billion in this category, an increase of 65 percent compared to the prior year, the highest percentage increase in all the major export categories. In fact, reports indicate that in 2011, the United States shipped more gasoline, diesel and jet fuel than any other single export in over 20 years and that it also was the first time in more than 60 years that America has been a net exporter of these fuels.

During the 2010 State of the Union Address, President Obama indicated that his administration would double U.S. exports in five years in a quest to create 2 million export-related jobs. While the rate of growth experienced in exports since that statement remains formidable, there is still significant work to be done to accomplish the goal by 2015. Specifically, this would entail reaching an export target of $2.6 trillion (given the $1.3 trillion in 2010), an increase of approximately $1.1 trillion from the $1.5 trillion reached in 2011. Despite the decades of export promotion and programs to entice more and more American companies to engage in export-oriented production, the share of U.S. firms that sell products outside the country remain at a meager 1 percent. Even more intense efforts need to be deployed to lure American companies to focus on export-led growth, i.e., to "more aggressively orient their economic ecosystems for global trade," a development with tremendous potential for broad-based, sustained economic growth across the country.

State Exports, 2007 to 2011
State 2007 2008 Percent Change 2009 Percent Change 2010 Percent Change 2011 Percent Change 2007 to 2011 Percent Change
Alabama 14,406,676,895 15,879,048,527 10% 12,354,803,017 -22% 15,501,508,839 25% 17,893,282,100 15% 24%
Alaska 4,009,894,879 3,541,796,749 -12% 3,270,429,748 -8% 4,154,626,473 27% 5,238,344,198 26% 31%
Arizona 19,227,791,370 19,784,243,422 3% 14,023,462,270 -29% 15,635,757,846 11% 17,500,706,127 12% -9%
Arkansas 4,886,844,975 5,775,976,750 18% 5,266,978,589 -9% 5,218,646,154 -1% 5,559,198,313 7% 14%
California 134,318,906,761 144,805,748,349 8% 120,079,965,765 -17% 143,192,250,991 19% 159,354,357,767 11% 19%
Colorado 7,352,198,821 7,712,606,567 5% 5,867,265,731 -24% 6,726,706,628 15% 7,334,008,213 9% 0%
Connecticut 13,799,141,842 15,384,102,725 11% 13,978,898,792 -9% 16,056,449,947 15% 16,198,135,524 1% 17%
Delaware 4,024,183,349 4,898,437,003 22% 4,311,773,339 -12% 4,965,544,823 15% 5,508,814,626 11% 37%
District of Columbia 1,082,135,647 1,195,906,725 11% 1,090,543,044 -9% 1,500,660,263 38% 1,055,341,215 -30% -2%
Florida 44,858,050,410 54,238,239,529 21% 46,888,006,761 -14% 55,364,760,752 18% 64,756,130,028 17% 44%
Georgia 23,365,865,349 27,513,961,882 18% 23,743,041,911 -14% 28,949,552,263 22% 34,713,212,461 20% 49%
Hawaii 560,071,275 959,607,734 71% 563,059,688 -41% 684,045,484 21% 909,217,561 33% 62%
Idaho 4,703,433,247 5,005,251,812 6% 3,877,389,493 -23% 5,156,919,667 33% 5,898,492,247 14% 25%
Illinois 48,896,249,905 53,677,477,963 10% 41,626,110,699 -22% 50,058,293,734 20% 64,564,658,986 29% 32%
Indiana 25,956,346,037 26,502,291,510 2% 22,907,367,488 -14% 28,744,977,002 25% 32,200,212,042 12% 24%
Iowa 9,655,733,616 12,124,631,240 26% 9,042,125,564 -25% 10,880,026,652 20% 13,282,762,214 22% 38%
Kansas 10,277,477,026 12,513,976,006 22% 8,916,920,376 -29% 9,905,219,429 11% 11,572,383,015 17% 13%
Kentucky 19,652,095,856 19,120,585,559 -3% 17,649,768,303 -8% 19,342,737,535 10% 20,065,948,178 4% 2%
Louisiana 30,318,911,145 41,908,136,496 38% 32,616,451,452 -22% 41,355,870,039 27% 55,124,006,851 33% 82%
Maine 2,750,326,347 3,016,395,471 10% 2,231,142,502 -26% 3,163,991,540 42% 3,460,658,670 9% 26%
Maryland 8,948,636,829 11,383,050,502 27% 9,225,376,423 -19% 10,163,267,062 10% 10,879,302,820 7% 22%
Massachusetts 25,351,439,596 28,369,195,305 12% 23,593,277,279 -17% 26,303,601,826 11% 27,710,902,741 5% 9%
Michigan 44,555,349,131 45,135,506,345 1% 32,655,333,884 -28% 44,768,187,457 37% 50,802,278,026 13% 14%
Minnesota 18,061,826,408 19,186,171,449 6% 15,531,557,833 -19% 18,903,725,389 22% 20,276,112,029 7% 12%
Mississippi 5,184,420,753 7,323,468,227 41% 6,316,488,807 -14% 8,228,851,021 30% 10,926,061,973 33% 111%
Missouri 13,483,588,154 12,852,324,415 -5% 9,522,229,617 -26% 12,925,559,774 36% 14,145,445,175 9% 5%
Montana 1,133,672,004 1,394,600,906 23% 1,053,312,395 -24% 1,388,777,953 32% 1,581,372,653 14% 39%
Nebraska 4,266,141,656 5,412,021,410 27% 4,872,924,899 -10% 5,819,949,181 19% 7,578,161,996 30% 78%
Nevada 5,713,833,904 6,121,087,925 7% 5,672,185,096 -7% 5,911,812,450 4% 7,977,737,259 35% 40%
New Hampshire 2,914,139,835 3,752,476,603 29% 3,060,715,994 -18% 4,367,331,611 43% 4,293,484,673 -2% 47%
New Jersey 30,836,468,846 35,643,101,080 16% 27,244,246,431 -24% 32,153,593,976 18% 38,240,994,390 19% 24%
New Mexico 2,585,121,373 2,782,906,663 8% 1,269,535,234 -54% 1,540,970,873 21% 2,089,453,337 36% -19%
New York 71,115,801,477 81,385,735,231 14% 58,743,030,056 -28% 69,695,634,935 19% 82,894,130,191 19% 17%
North Carolina 23,355,818,431 25,090,543,442 7% 21,792,953,156 -13% 24,905,063,910 14% 26,964,357,273 8% 15%
North Dakota 2,046,659,843 2,772,203,944 35% 2,193,011,373 -21% 2,536,428,341 16% 3,379,084,702 33% 65%
Ohio 42,562,233,016 45,627,982,845 7% 34,104,484,238 -25% 41,493,512,722 22% 46,407,887,826 12% 9%
Oklahoma 4,579,067,887 5,076,531,187 11% 4,414,915,717 -13% 5,353,190,640 21% 6,217,905,151 16% 36%
Oregon 16,530,875,039 19,352,130,713 17% 14,907,405,450 -23% 17,671,067,072 19% 18,291,715,722 4% 11%
Pennsylvania 29,195,435,464 34,648,502,042 19% 28,381,102,168 -18% 34,927,694,246 23% 41,029,607,501 17% 41%
Puerto Rico 18,078,284,156 19,961,283,553 10% 20,937,064,690 5% 22,784,088,942 9% 18,652,910,221 -18% 3%
Rhode Island 1,648,709,556 1,974,431,973 20% 1,495,522,447 -24% 1,949,146,488 30% 2,299,728,249 18% 39%
South Carolina 16,575,455,732 19,852,520,521 20% 16,488,111,133 -17% 20,328,687,951 23% 24,679,558,519 21% 49%
South Dakota 1,509,876,310 1,653,712,654 10% 1,010,960,601 -39% 1,259,394,822 25% 1,454,694,153 16% -4%
Tennessee 21,864,789,113 23,237,724,782 6% 20,484,299,844 -12% 25,942,724,022 27% 29,973,295,239 16% 37%
Texas 168,228,620,315 192,221,780,916 14% 162,994,740,450 -15% 206,960,767,594 27% 249,860,039,646 21% 49%
Utah 7,814,523,484 10,305,992,531 32% 10,337,135,031 0% 13,809,376,642 34% 18,928,931,501 37% 142%
Vermont 3,684,920,270 3,697,411,932 0% 3,219,270,656 -13% 4,277,417,496 33% 4,327,828,942 1% 17%
Virgin Islands 808,339,747 2,747,339,175 240% 1,217,003,134 -56% 1,898,505,274 56% 2,293,209,803 21% 184%
Virginia 16,864,469,904 18,941,608,711 12% 15,052,091,034 -21% 17,163,324,645 14% 18,105,351,782 5% 7%
Washington 52,089,477,068 54,498,049,919 5% 51,850,856,743 -5% 53,353,413,033 3% 64,632,316,142 21% 24%
West Virginia 3,987,020,782 5,643,487,491 42% 4,825,570,207 -14% 6,449,180,362 34% 9,002,214,045 40% 126%
Wisconsin 18,825,489,177 20,569,621,721 9% 16,724,996,880 -19% 19,789,522,286 18% 22,048,455,016 11% 17%
Wyoming 802,170,915 1,081,014,094 35% 926,141,589 -14% 983,287,911 6% 1,221,507,129 24% 52%
United States 1,148,198,722,191 1,287,441,996,730 12% 1,056,042,963,028 -18% 1,278,263,225,486 21% 1,480,552,124,563 16% 29%
Unallocated 38,893,711,264 42,188,054,504 8% 33,619,608,007 -20% 45,697,621,518 36% 49,196,218,402 8% 26%

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, February 2012

Top 20 U.S. Export Markets, 2007 to 2011
Partner 2007 2008 Percent Change 2009 Percent Change 2010 Percent Change 2011 Percent Change
Canada 248,888,144,575 261,149,833,516 5% 204,657,955,218 -22% 249,104,995,965 22% 280,764,268,022 13%
Mexico 135,918,138,711 151,220,056,463 11% 128,892,137,645 -15% 163,473,026,884 27% 197,543,674,806 21%
China 62,936,891,576 69,732,837,543 11% 69,496,678,611 0% 91,880,613,079 32% 103,878,554,773 13%
Japan 61,159,582,766 65,141,753,124 7% 51,134,184,201 -22% 60,485,608,722 18% 66,168,328,820 9%
United Kingdom 49,981,491,297 53,599,069,711 7% 45,703,598,254 -15% 48,413,544,330 6% 55,963,534,142 16%
Germany 49,419,703,142 54,505,255,730 10% 43,306,258,441 -21% 48,160,731,054 11% 49,134,174,634 2%
South Korea 34,401,709,969 34,668,671,020 1% 28,611,928,167 -17% 38,845,657,563 36% 43,505,004,799 12%
Brazil 24,172,315,213 32,298,654,561 34% 26,095,455,340 -19% 35,425,091,507 36% 42,943,393,779 21%
Netherlands 32,836,958,949 39,719,476,892 21% 32,241,517,656 -19% 34,939,190,178 8% 42,826,973,461 23%
Hong Kong 19,901,654,480 21,498,619,389 8% 21,050,525,179 -2% 26,570,267,632 26% 36,512,581,188 37%
Singapore 25,618,565,860 27,853,610,178 9% 22,231,821,976 -20% 29,017,399,660 31% 31,392,979,341 8%
Belgium 25,258,518,805 28,903,481,869 14% 21,607,727,193 -25% 25,455,743,159 18% 29,876,948,901 17%
France 26,675,969,747 28,840,096,938 8% 26,493,009,350 -8% 26,968,503,225 2% 27,844,315,935 3%
Australia 19,178,197,903 22,218,649,074 16% 19,599,303,927 -12% 21,797,618,846 11% 27,515,747,704 26%
Taiwan 25,828,669,191 24,926,275,971 -3% 18,485,640,877 -26% 26,043,354,199 41% 25,898,410,803 -1%
Switzerland 17,039,261,465 22,023,645,856 29% 17,504,409,869 -21% 20,687,333,696 18% 24,452,738,010 18%
India 14,968,845,536 17,682,084,740 18% 16,441,395,486 -7% 19,250,118,652 17% 21,627,596,974 12%
Italy 14,149,624,058 15,460,835,761 9% 12,268,011,950 -21% 14,219,246,395 16% 15,991,314,100 12%
United Arab Emirates 10,786,648,688 14,417,398,443 34% 12,210,863,357 -15% 11,673,439,016 -4% 15,893,845,362 36%
Chile 8,148,107,198 11,857,443,806 46% 9,345,620,179 -21% 10,905,267,693 17% 15,873,394,302 46%
World 1,148,198,722,191 1,287,441,996,730 12% 1,056,042,963,028 -18% 1,278,263,225,486 21% 1,480,552,124,563 16%

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, February 2012

U.S. Products Exported to the World, 2007 to 2011
Item 2007 2008 Percent Change 2009 Percent Change 2010 Percent Change 2011 Percent Change
Total 1,148,198,722,191 1,287,441,996,730 12% 1,056,042,963,028 -18% 1,278,263,225,486 21% 1,480,552,124,563 16%
Transportation Equipment 204,123,478,492 206,145,349,074 1% 165,375,125,755 -20% 190,923,782,851 15% 217,179,585,151 14%
Computer and Electronic Products 187,047,039,876 190,281,712,426 2% 160,627,813,993 -16% 190,398,641,447 19% 200,960,799,955 6%
Chemicals 151,680,179,762 171,642,127,430 13% 152,255,091,379 -11% 179,572,152,469 18% 197,538,190,970 10%
Machinery (Except Electrical) 132,830,719,647 145,431,236,765 9% 113,415,804,345 -22% 137,808,960,552 22% 156,892,514,923 14%
Petroleum and Coal Products 31,279,031,127 59,030,458,094 89% 41,595,109,861 -30% 61,423,457,614 48% 101,375,575,312 65%
Agricultural Products 48,096,536,275 62,950,574,820 31% 50,825,602,090 -19% 60,232,214,593 19% 71,962,857,947 19%
Primary Metal Manufacturing 48,031,007,453 58,626,990,798 22% 40,656,297,437 -31% 53,522,057,949 32% 69,727,825,349 30%
Miscellaneous Manufactured Commodities 52,156,957,969 59,665,287,702 14% 52,740,251,159 -12% 61,076,813,918 16% 69,643,472,784 14%
Food Manufactures 39,427,185,539 49,337,340,974 25% 44,679,369,427 -9% 51,894,820,343 16% 59,925,646,950 15%
Special Classification Provisions (NESOI) * 35,395,332,830 39,705,110,375 12% 32,783,653,926 -17% 43,885,082,930 34% 44,769,943,625 2%
Electrical Equipment, Appliances and Components 36,729,304,839 38,290,922,137 4% 31,386,180,432 -18% 37,545,307,830 20% 41,994,689,060 12%
Fabricated Metal Products (NESOI) 32,300,314,790 35,230,619,927 9% 30,205,787,007 -14% 35,732,327,234 18% 40,488,641,609 13%
Waste and Scrap 22,481,502,613 29,341,898,434 31% 21,857,189,899 -26% 29,562,353,081 35% 39,378,288,853 33%
Plastics and Rubber Products 23,224,041,338 24,715,115,584 6% 21,633,044,651 -12% 25,906,116,700 20% 29,036,938,287 12%
Paper 20,538,252,311 22,481,831,915 9% 19,699,854,986 -12% 23,652,089,423 20% 25,650,206,290 8%
Minerals and Ores 11,398,234,930 16,215,144,305 42% 10,882,948,441 -33% 17,243,689,041 58% 25,601,491,689 48%
Oil and Gas 5,826,391,432 8,746,765,075 50% 6,736,550,661 -23% 9,495,433,718 41% 11,740,715,318 24%
Nonmetallic Mineral Products 8,815,217,294 9,438,923,449 7% 7,927,815,368 -16% 9,812,367,311 24% 10,722,458,597 9%
Textiles and Fabrics 8,488,745,887 8,475,361,400 0% 6,685,486,331 -21% 8,159,467,763 22% 9,459,462,300 16%
Used or Second-Hand Merchandise 8,498,098,394 10,035,733,902 18% 7,989,696,988 -20% 8,260,552,364 3% 9,148,702,706 11%
Beverages and Tobacco Products 4,449,195,155 5,089,155,350 14% 4,660,638,478 -8% 5,767,527,217 24% 6,749,981,708 17%
Printed Matter and Related Products (NESOI) 6,649,691,084 6,876,692,203 3% 6,094,868,086 -11% 6,424,356,204 5% 6,480,080,030 1%
Wood Products 5,260,103,359 5,310,908,832 1% 4,193,112,578 -21% 5,342,566,433 27% 5,847,895,608 9%
Fish, Fresh/Chilled/Frozen and Other Marine Products 4,045,463,840 4,005,422,837 -1% 3,692,506,969 -8% 4,239,761,531 15% 5,354,838,563 26%
Furniture and Fixtures 4,303,634,358 4,921,415,754 14% 4,000,767,172 -19% 4,588,582,320 15% 5,088,135,974 11%
Apparel Manufucturing Products 4,198,472,272 4,282,130,580 2% 4,020,043,825 -6% 4,496,666,288 12% 4,994,507,769 11%
Leather and Allied Products 3,381,405,708 3,261,930,848 -4% 2,698,959,667 -17% 3,401,517,011 26% 3,966,856,702 17%
Textile Mills Products 2,899,125,969 2,892,014,272 0% 2,556,716,390 -12% 2,903,292,005 14% 3,118,519,255 7%
Forestry Products (NESOI) 1,994,268,316 1,975,395,782 -1% 1,702,106,343 -14% 2,282,419,642 34% 2,721,513,454 19%
Other Animals 1,413,412,335 1,566,069,925 11% 1,427,040,254 -9% 1,578,799,631 11% 1,942,636,714 23%
Newspapers, Books and Other Published Matter (NESOI) 960,151,188 849,325,061 -12% 837,069,185 -1% 961,139,999 15% 907,540,234 -6%
Goods Returned to Canada (Exports Only); Goods Returned and Reimported Items (Imports Only) 276,225,809 623,030,700 126% 200,459,945 -68% 168,908,074 -16% 181,610,877 8%

* NESOI - Not Elsewhere Specified or Indicated

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, International Trade Administration, February 2012