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South Dakota Leads District States in Manufactured Exports

May 1, 2001


Rob Grunewald Statistics Editor
South Dakota Leads District States in Manufactured Exports

Improvements in the global economy contributed to an 11 percent increase in district manufacturing exports in 2000. South Dakota led all district states with a 50 percent climb. "It's promising that the increases are not all in one SIC code [or industry]," said Joop Bollen, director of the South Dakota International Business Institute (SDIBI), which provides export services to South Dakota businesses.

Machinery and computer equipment, food and kindred products, and measuring instruments and medical goods all made strong gains in South Dakota last year. Increases in manufactured exports were also spread out among several destinations. Exports to Europe, Mexico, Japan, China and the Middle East increased well over 50 percent.

While it's difficult to statistically measure the impact of export promotion efforts, South Dakota has actively marketed its products abroad, according to Bollen. SDIBI has translated South Dakota company Web pages into foreign languages and registered them on search engines in other countries. "We get several letters from companies that get business off of the Web pages," Bollen said. Offices in Holland and Germany have also assisted with promotion efforts in Europe.

Overall, district exports to Canada, Europe and Asia grew

Manufactured exports from district states to Canada and Europe increased 7 percent in 2000 after remaining flat a year earlier. Growth in exports to Europe increased despite a 14 percent decline in the euro relative to the U.S. dollar, which makes U.S. goods and services more expensive in Europe.

Manufactured exports to Asian markets jumped 18 percent following only a 2 percent increase a year earlier. Exports to Japan increased 15 percent after dropping each of the past two years. The value of the yen relative to the dollar was 13 percent higher in 2000 than the previous three-year average, helping make U.S. products less expensive in Japan. Manufactured exports to China, primarily machinery and computer equipment, increased 21 percent in 2000, generating large gains in Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Exports to developing economies were mixed

Manufactured exports to South America increased over 15 percent in all states, including an almost 170 percent hike in Montana. Exports to Mexico increased over 65 percent in South Dakota and over 30 percent in Minnesota and Wisconsin. However, exports to the Pacific Islands, which includes Australia and New Zealand, were flat to down for all states except North Dakota. Central American economies also slowed purchases of district exports, decreasing in all states.

Machinery and computer equipment in demand

Machinery and computer equipment, which comprises over one-third of district manufactured exports, made strong gains in 2000, including a 72 percent hike in South Dakota. Other significant gains were made in measuring instruments and medical goods, which grew faster than the historical average in almost all states.