Minnesota Exports Drop Faster Than US Average in 2016

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota’s businesses exported $19 billion of products in 2016, a four percent decrease from the year prior.

A new report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the state’s decline in exports slightly eclipses that of the nation as a whole. The United States saw a three percent decline in exports, in part due to the relative strength of the dollar.

The same is true regarding manufactured exports. Minnesota saw a five percent decline while the United States as a whole fared slightly better with a four percent decrease.

“Even with a slight decline in exports overall, Minnesota still has a thriving and diverse export sector, with state businesses sending 1,044 different products to 207 countries last year,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said, “Exports are a vital part of our economy, supporting nearly 120,000 jobs in Minnesota.”

This is the second consecutive year Minnesota’s export levels dropped. In 2015, the state matched the national rate, seeing a seven percent decline. The state’s exports peaked in 2013 at $21.4 billion. Last year’s total is the lowest since 2010.

Medical equipment remained the largest product group exported in 2016, totaling $3.5 billion. Machinery followed close behind at $3.1 billion.

Asian countries supplanted their North American counterparts as the largest importers of Minnesota goods. Export totals to Asia held steady in 2016 at $6.4 billion, while numbers in North America dropped seven percent to finish just below Asia.

Canada remains far and away Minnesota’s greatest trade partner. Exports north totaled $4.05 billion, almost double that of either Mexico or China. Japan was the other country to import over $1 billion in Minnesotan goods.

Thirty-five states across the country saw decreases in their export totals in 2016. Idaho had the strongest growth at 14 percent. On the other end, Maryland saw a decline of 18 percent.

Anders Koskinen