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U.S. Department of Commerce Announces Exports from U.S. Metropolitan Areas Totaled $1.31 Trillion in 2011

Thursday, September 13, 2012

New data shows metro exports increased nearly 40 percent since 2009

Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank released new data today showing that in 2011, merchandise exports from 367 U.S. metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) totaled $1.31 trillion, with merchandise exports from non-metropolitan/rural areas totaling an additional $174.9 billion. One hundred fifty U.S. metropolitan areas (40.9 percent) exported more than $1 billion in merchandise internationally in 2011; and 11 of these metropolitan areas exported merchandise worth more than $25 billion. Moreover, merchandise exports from MSAs have increased nearly 40 percent since 2009, a rate which is helping to make significant progress toward meeting the president’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014.

“The continued growth of exports from our cities and communities across the country are making a real difference in creating American jobs and helping grow our economy,” said Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank. “Higher exports mean more jobs, and the significant increase in exports that we have seen since 2009 is contributing to our ongoing recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Though more work remains, cities large and small across this country have a vital role to play when it comes to fueling the growth of U.S. exports, and the numbers released today demonstrate that more exports from individual metropolitan areas are helping American businesses build things here and sell them everywhere to create jobs.”

A total of 308 metropolitan areas (83.9 percent of reported MSAs) recorded positive growth in area exports between 2010 and 2011. Thirty-six major metropolitan areas expanded exports by $1 billion or more between 2010 and 2011. 

Among the top 25 metropolitan area exporters, merchandise exports increased by 17.4 percent between 2010 and 2011. The three largest metropolitan area exporters showed growth rates roughly at or above the national growth rate with exports from New York up 23.5 percent from 2010, Houston (up 29.6 percent from 2010 and Los Angeles up 16.9 percent from 2010. Much of the growth in these metropolitan areas was fueled by exports of transportation equipment, chemicals, computer and electronic products, petroleum and coal products, and primary metal manufacturing.

Among the top 25 metropolitan exporters, New Orleans, showed the highest growth in exports between 2010 and 2011 with exports growing by 45.6 percent over this period. Other metropolitan areas that showed high growth in exports included Salt Lake City, (up 45.3 percent from 2010) and Peoria, Ill. (up 36.7 percent from 2010).

Consistent with national trade figures, metropolitan area exports were strongest to our North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) partners Canada and Mexico. Detroit represented the largest metropolitan area exporter to Canada in 2011, with exports from Detroit, representing 7.4 percent of the total U.S. metropolitan area exports to Canada. Other major metropolitan area exporters to Canada in 2011 also included Chicago, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles.

U.S. metropolitan area trade with Mexico increased substantially in 2011, with metropolitan area exports to Mexico increasing by 21.6 percent between 2010 and 2011, compared to a growth rate of only 16.0 percent for U.S. metropolitan areas exports over this period. As with Canada, Detroit also ranked as the largest exporter to Mexico, representing 10 percent of U.S. metropolitan area exports to Mexico. The largest metropolitan area exporters to Mexico are otherwise dominated by metropolitan areas that are geographically close to Mexico and that have fostered supply chain relationships with the country. Metropolitan areas in California (Los Angeles and San Diego) and Texas (Houston, El Paso, Dallas, Laredo, and Brownsville) are ranked among the top 10 metropolitan exporters to Mexico.

For more information on the impact of MSAs on U.S. exports, including fact sheets for the top 50 exporting MSAs in 2011, visit