Alabama exports set new record in 2017

Alabama's key exports include automobiles, chemicals, primary metals, paper products and non-electrical machinery.

Gov. Kay Ivey announced on Thursday that in 2017 Alabama exports reached a record setting $21.7 billion, up 6 percent from 2016’s export total of $20.5 billion.

“We’ve seen Alabama exports continue to expand in recent years, strengthening our economy at home and creating more opportunities for our citizens,” said Ivey. “The companies sending Alabama-made products to markets across the world are not just large, multinational companies, but also small and medium-sized companies located in communities across the state, setting a new annual export record is just another example of the economic success that Alabama is enjoying right now.”

Alabama exports have grown 21 percent since 2011, and 50 percent in the last ten years.

“Exporting is a fundamental economic pillar that supports growth in our state, and increasing demand for Alabama-made products around the globe underscores the success of our dynamic manufacturing sector,” said secretary of the Alabama Department of CommerceGreg Canfield. “Growing export activity contributes economic vitality and spurs job creation across the state.”

Alabama businesses exported goods to over 180 countries. According to a press release from the governor’s office, the top five markets were:

  1. Canada: $4.14 billion
  2. China: $3.62 billion
  3. Germany: $2.94 billion
  4. Mexico: $2.9 billion
  5. Japan:$682.6 million

Exports to China and Mexico both grew by 10 percent, while shipments to Japan jumped 30 percent.

Transportation machinery was Alabama’s No. 1 export, cars were the largest export in this category. Aircraft, spacecraft and auto parts, were the other top exports. Other exports were chemicals, minerals and paper.

“With much of the world’s purchasing power located outside the U.S., Alabama companies are looking at markets beyond our borders for growth opportunities, exports enhance the quality of life for all Alabamians and elevate prosperity in the state. Creating jobs through exports for the state’s citizens is key to accelerating Alabama globally.” said director of the Commerce Department’s Office of International Trade, Hilda Lockhart.

In 2017, Alabama ranked No. 22 in the nation in export volume, moving up one spot from 2016.