MN Manufactured Exports Hit Record $17.3 Billion in 2008

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009 at 8:36 am

ST. PAUL – Minnesota manufactured exports reached a record $17.3 billion last year, up from $16.2 billion in 2007. State exports grew 6.2 percent last year, while overall U.S. manufactured exports increased 9.8 percent.

A slowing global economy affected state exports in the fourth quarter of 2008. Minnesota manufactured exports in the quarter were $4.2 billion, a decline of $126 million (2.9 percent) from the same quarter a year ago. U.S. manufactured exports declined 4.4 percent in the fourth quarter.

“The manufactured export market remains a strong segment of the state economy,” said Dan McElroy, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “Even with the economic slowdown, six of the state’s largest markets increased their exports during the fourth quarter.”

Markets that increased year-over-year exports of state products during the fourth quarter were China, $306 million (up 2.9 percent); Mexico, $220 million (up 28 percent); Japan, $213 million (up 15.5 percent); the Philippines, $201 million (up 18.7 percent); the United Kingdom, $190 million (up 3.3 percent); and Belgium, $159 million (up 23.1 percent).

Canada, which accounts for about one-fourth of the state’s exports, reduced its export demand in the fourth quarter to $1.05 billion, off 15.4 percent from the same quarter a year ago. This decline is driven by weaker demand for transportation products. Other declines among the state’s top 10 export partners were posted by Ireland, $242 million (down 1.9 percent); Germany, $181 million (down 4.3 percent); and the Netherlands , $136 million (down 12.9 percent).

Computers and electronics is the state’s top manufactured export category, accounting for $1.1 billion in sales in the quarter, a decline of 0.6 percent from one year earlier. Other top exports were machinery, $718 million (up 10.1 percent); transportation equipment, $415 million (down 31.2 percent); miscellaneous products including medical, $513 million (up 4.8 percent); and food products, $315 million (down 11.1 percent).

“Transportation equipment exports in the fourth quarter were down sharply, mainly sales of small trucks and public transportation vehicles to Canada ,” said Tony Lorusso, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office. “But increased exports of machinery, petroleum products and medical products helped offset some of those declines.”

Other top export categories for Minnesota during the fourth quarter were chemicals, $235 million (down 16.7 percent); electrical equipment, $192 million (up 4.5 percent); fabricated metals, $133 million (up 4.5 percent); paper, $130 million (down 13.5 percent); and plastics and rubber, $103 million (down 5.8 percent).

A more detailed report on fourth quarter manufactured exports is available online at

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