Alabama's exports in 2011 continued to grow and recorded the highest-ever total for the value of goods exported during a single year: $17.9 billion, up 15.4 percent from $15.5 billion in 2010.
"Companies in Alabama are remaining competitive in the global marketplace, and we continue to assist them through the Alabama Development Office and the Alabama Export Alliance," Governor Robert Bentley said. "Exports create jobs, and this surge of our products being sold overseas is fueling our state's engines for growth."
New figures were recently released by WiserTrade, which obtains its data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Americas (including Canada, Mexico, and Latin America) still maintained the highest market share of Alabama exports at 38 percent and saw 16 percent growth from 2010 to 2011 with total exports jumping from $5.9 billion to $6.8 billion Asia captured 30 percent of the state's exported goods in 2011 and realized an almost 18 percent increase from 2010. Exports to the European Union took a 26 percent share.
Alabama ranks 25th in the nation for dollar value of exports. Canada, China, Germany, Mexico and Japan were Alabama's top export destinations. Canada alone accounted for 18.4 percent of Alabama exports and has been the number one export destination for the last three years. The largest increases in Alabama's top ten export markets were Mexico (53 percent), Japan (46 percent), and Belgium (40 percent). Japan steadily moves up in the ranks for top export markets, rising from eighth in 2010 to fifth in 2011.
Alabama's top export sectors ranked by dollar value were vehicles, mineral fuel (coal), industrial machinery, plastics, electrical machinery, iron/steel, measuring instruments, aircraft, and wood pulp. Vehicles remained the state's number-one export with 89 percent of the total transportation exports. Vehicles and vehicle parts totaled over $5.4 billion in 2011, an increase of 14 percent from the $4.7 billion exported in 2011. Alabama ranked fourth in the nation for vehicle exports.
The top ten industries showing the most growth from 2010 to 2011 included iron/steel at 109 percent, mineral fuel at 34.7 percent and industrial machinery at 34 percent. Alabama ranked third in the nation for exports of coal, which was a $2.2 billion industry. This was an increase of 32 percent from 2010 to 2011.
"Global markets are slowly recovering, and manufacturing exports of goods such as vehicles are increasing," said Greg Canfield, director of the Alabama Development Office. "The Alabama Development Office's International Trade Division will continue working to ensure this growth during 2012 and beyond."
The ADO Trade Division in 2011 won two federal grants through the Small Business Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission. Small and medium-sized businesses may be eligible for assistance with new or existing export services through these grants.