Export Indicators of the United States

The 120 largest bilateral export relations – a ranking indicator for measuring export intensity

The principle of parsimony states: “the simpler the better”. Using this lemma, let’s keep on analyzing how Mexico stands as an export market within the 50 US states and also how the 50 US states perform in their world export markets.

An export index, easy to calculate and understand but with very powerful economic implications, is to rank, by absolute value, the bilateral export relationships between the 50 US states and their foreign export markets. We can draw the line between simplicity and comprehensiveness by using a sample of the 120 largest bilateral export relations which account for almost 55% of the total US exports to the world[1].

Some stylized facts about this sample

By US states and their political affiliations

  • 30 US states are represented in this indicator: Texas, California, Washington, New York, Illinois, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Oregon, Indiana, Arizona, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Jersey, Missouri, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, Virginia, Utah, North Dakota, Nevada, and Kansas.
  • The most export-oriented states are the usual suspects: Texas with 21 of the 120 largest US export markets; California with 17 foreign markets, New York and Washington, 9 each; Illinois and South Carolina, 5 each; and Louisiana, Florida, and Alabama, 4 each. The political affiliations of this set of highly exporting states are well balanced, while Texas, South Carolina, Louisiana, and Alabama have a strong Republican bias; California, New York, Washington, and Illinois show a robust Democrat favoritism; and Florida is well known for being a swing state.
  • Also in this list, there are less well known export states such as Iowa, Virginia, Utah, North Dakota, Nevada, and Kansas with one important foreign market each. All of them have been leaning Republican since 1982, except Iowa which has been leaning Democrat and Nevada which is a highly swing state.
  • In terms of value, the 21 international export markets of Texas were worth $205.4 billion (bn), namely, 14.3% of total US exports in 2015. In second place comes California with $131.5 bn accumulated in its 16 export markets, and finally, New York $58.3 bn and Washington $51.8 bn in 9 export markets each.

By foreign export markets

  • 27 countries are the main export markets for 30 US states, according to this simple indicator.
  • Canada is the key export market for 28 US states; while Mexico makes the cut for 22 states; China for 13; United Kingdom, 8; Germany, 5; and Japan, 4.

Mexico as an export market of the US states

  • Mexico has the first two most important bilateral export relations of the US: Mexico-Texas ($92.5 bn, 1st) and Mexico-California ($26.8 bn, 2nd).
  • 22 US states have Mexico as an outstanding export market among the 120 largest ones, namely, Texas (1st), California (2nd), Michigan (11th), Arizona (17th), Illinois (18th), Ohio (31st), Louisiana (37th), Indiana (45th), Tennessee (46th), Pennsylvania (57th), Georgia (67th), North Carolina (76th), New York (77th), Wisconsin (84th), Alabama (87th), Florida (92nd), Massachusetts (98th), New Jersey (99th), South Carolina (105th), Missouri (107th), Minnesota (113th), and Kentucky (117th).
  •  These 22 bilateral export relations were worth $209.2 bn, that is, 14.6% of total US exports in 2015.




[1] This figure does not include exports of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the unallocated.

Author: Félix González Sáenz


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