In a welcome boost to the state's economy and job outlook, exports of Washington-made goods jumped to a record $64.6 billion in 2011, an increase of 21%, according to the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research.
"This is truly welcome news for our state," said Gov. Chris Gregoire. "The global marketplace continues to recognize the outstanding quality and value of products and services from Washington state. Given we're the most trade dependent state in the nation, exports are a key driver of job growth and economic recovery. We will continue to build the strong relationships with trading partners overseas that further expand opportunities for our businesses."
The strong performance puts Washington well on the way toward meeting the goals of Gregoire's Washington Export Initiative. The initiative launched in 2010 and seeks to increase the number of Washington companies exporting 30 percent by 2015.
The largest market for Washington goods continued to be China, where 2011 exports rose 9% to $11.2 billion. Exports to Europe also climbed, despite the region's economic turmoil, to $6.4 billion, an increase of 23% compared to 2010. Aircraft and parts dominated the list of goods shipped to both regions. Soy and grain ranked second among the Washington goods shipped to China, though this figure includes some crops originating outside the state. WISER generated its analysis using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The state is the largest U.S. exporter on a per capita basis. With 8,000 Washington companies currently exporting, approximately four percent of Washington companies export, compared to a national average of one percent. One in three jobs in Washington state are tied to trade, either directly or indirectly.