MN Cos. Set New Export Record in 2011: $20.3B

The state's 2011 exports increased $1.4 billion, or 7.3 percent, from the previous year.

Minnesota companies exported $20.3 billion in agricultural, mining, and manufactured products last year-surpassing the previous record of $19.2 billion, set in 2008, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The state's 2011 exports increased $1.4 billion, or 7.3 percent, from the previous year. Manufactured products accounted for $18.4 billion, or about 90 percent of total exports.

Katie Clark, executive director of the Minnesota Trade Office, told Twin Cities Business on Thursday that DEED's latest report-unlike those previously released-incorporates agricultural and mining exports, in addition to manufactured goods. Past years' numbers were revised upwards to provide consistent comparisons.

North America represented the state's largest export market in 2011. It received $7 billion worth of goods, up 10 percent from 2010. Asia followed closely, receiving $6.9 billion of Minnesota's exports, up 11 percent from the previous year. The European Union accounted for $4 billion, down 2 percent.

In terms of individual countries, Canada received $5.8 billion in Minnesota exports, more than any other country and an increase of 7 percent. China ranked second, receiving $2.3 billion in Minnesota exports, up 18 percent. Japan received $1.3 billion in exports from the state, up 15 percent.

The following countries were also key export partners in 2011: Mexico ($1.2 billion, up 24 percent), Germany ($734 million, down 6 percent), South Korea ($702 million, up 12 percent), Belgium ($623 million, up 5 percent), the United Kingdom ($557 million, down 5 percent), Singapore ($547 million, up 10 percent), and the Philippines ($524 million, up 13 percent).

The top export category was machinery, which climbed 1 percent from 2010 to reach $4 billion in 2011. It was followed by optics and medical instruments ($2.8 billion, down 2.3 percent), electrical machinery ($2.7 billion, up 13.1 percent), vehicles ($1.7 billion, up 10 percent), plastic ($1.1 billion, up 3.4 percent), aircraft and spacecraft ($502 million, up 9.6 percent), food waste and animal feed ($483 million, up 6.6 percent), cereals ($433, up 40.1 percent), mineral fuel and oil ($427 million, up 103.6 percent), and ores, slag, and ash ($397 million, down 30.3 percent).

Clark said in a statement that exports are an important driver of jobs in the state: “Manufacturing exports alone are responsible for nearly 115,000 jobs in Minnesota.”

U.S. exports in 2011 increased 15.8 percent from the previous year. The country's largest exporters were Texas and California; Minnesota ranked 19th among states, up one spot from 2010.

To access DEED's annual exports report, click here.