U.S. Department of Commerce: Exports from 50 U.S. Metropolitan Areas Topped $1 Trillion in 2012

Press Release

By:  Penny Pritzker
Date: July 11, 2013
Location: Unknown

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that in 2012, the 50 U.S. metropolitan areas that achieved the greatest levels of exports sent more than $1 trillion in merchandise all over the world, an increase of nearly $43 billion from 2011. For the first time ever, the Houston metropolitan area ranked No. 1, with total exports of $110 billion (an increase of 5.6 percent over 2011). The New York City metro area ranked second with $102 billion in exports.

Thirty-one of the top 50 metropolitan area exporters recorded positive growth in exports between 2011 and 2012. Twenty-nine of these areas set record export highs last year.

"Exports from America's metropolitan areas have increased for three consecutive years, and continue to set new records city by city," said Secretary Pritzker. "We know that businesses that successfully sell their goods and services abroad help support local economies and increase our manufacturing base here at home. That is why the Department of Commerce is committed to working in communities around the country to help businesses increase their export potential and enter new markets. U.S. exports support nearly 10 million American jobs -- and their contributions to local economies are being seen from Washington State to Washington, D.C."

Among the top 25 metropolitan areas, the Washington, D.C., metro area recorded the highest growth between 2011 and 2012, increasing exports by nearly 43 percent. Other metropolitan areas that exhibited high growth in exports included San Antonio (up more than 33 percent from 2011), and Seattle (up more than 22 percent from 2011).

Twenty-two metropolitan areas accounted for 40 percent of their state's total export activity in 2012. San Juan, Puerto Rico; Burlington, Vt.; Honolulu; and Salt Lake City all represented more than 80 percent of their state exports, while Seattle; Detroit; and Boise, Idaho, accounted for more than 70 percent of their state merchandise exports.

North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Mexico and Canada were the leading destinations for many metropolitan area exports. For example, exporters in the Detroit metropolitan area targeted these countries, with exports totaling $20.2 billion and $16.8 billion to Mexico and Canada, respectively in 2012.

U.S. metropolitan area trade with Mexico increased substantially in 2012, with metropolitan area exports expanding by 9.1 percent between 2011 and 2012. In comparison, the growth rate for U.S. metropolitan area exports to the world was 4.3 percent during the period. The largest metropolitan area exporters to Mexico are dominated by metropolitan areas that are geographically close to Mexico and that have fostered supply chain relationships with the country. Los Angeles and San Diego in California, and Houston, El Paso, Dallas, Laredo, and Brownsville in Texas are ranked among the top 10 metropolitan exporters to Mexico.

In 2010, President Obama launched a government-wide effort to double U.S. exports by the end of 2014, and support an additional two million American jobs. Since the launch of the National Export Initiative (NEI), merchandise exports from metropolitan areas have increased nearly 40 percent. Nationally, jobs supported by exports have increased by more than 60 percent since 2009.

For more information on the contributions of metro areas to U.S. exports, including fact sheets for the top 50 metro areas for exports, visit http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/metroreport/index.asp. For a list of the 29 metro areas that set record export highs in 2012, visit http://www.trade.gov/mas/ian/build/groups/public/@tg_ian/documents/webcontent/tg_ian_004072.pdf.