MN Exports Up, But Still Falling Behind the Rest of America


ST. PAUL, Minn. – For the first time since the fourth quarter of 2014, Minnesota’s exports increased from the same quarter in the previous year, while continuing to lag U.S. growth rates.

Quarter one of 2017 saw Minnesota exports rise five percent in total value compared to the first quarter of 2016 according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The state’s total exports for the quarter were valued at $4.8 billion.

U.S. exports over that time period grew at a rate of seven percent however. Minnesota’s growth of five percent is tied for the 22nd best among all state in the United States.

“Strong export activity is helping to drive a Minnesota economy that is healthy and growing,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a press release. “Along with our traditional markets, state companies increasingly are finding export opportunities in places like the Middle East and the Australia-Pacific region.”

Neighboring Wisconsin was even with Minnesota’s five percent, and South Dakota’s improvement was only slightly better at six percent. Wisconsin does hold a total exports advantage over Minnesota, with the total value of exports for the Badger state at $5.3 billion in the first quarter.

Iowa and North Dakota blew Minnesota away with growth rates of 16 percent and 21 percent respectively. North Dakota ranked fifth in the nation for growth over the last year, behind Nevada, Wyoming, Kansas, Louisiana, and West Virginia.

West Virginia’s growth of 44 percent led the nation, while Hawaii brought up the rear, seeing exports decline by 32 percent. Hawaii was one of thirteen states to see their total exports shrink over the last year.

In Minnesota, the total export value of ores/slag/ash was hit the hardest over the last four quarters, declining by $9 million or 72 percent. Fertilizers followed with a $12 million, or 44 percent, decline, and then aluminum down $26 million or 31 percent.

In contrast the categories of aircraft/spacecraft, plastics, meat, electrical machinery, and optics/medical goods each saw their total export values increase by $19 million or more.

Anders Koskinen