Up off the export canvas

Minnesota State Roundup

Published January 1, 2008  | January 2008 issue

With a falling dollar giving a strong boost to domestic exporters, you might forgive Minnesotans for their consternation over the state's export performance of late. For example, exports declined in the second quarter of fiscal year 2007, their first such decline in years. A 6 percent drop over the same quarter in 2006 was no rounding error either.

Exports rebounded strongly—almost 12 percent—in the following quarter. Still, the state's year-to-date exports have grown less than 4 percent over a comparable period from last year, according to state data. By comparison, from 2002 to 2006, state exports grew by 60 percent, or about 12 percent annually.

Over the past four quarters, exports to Canada—easily the state's largest export market—grew by almost $120 million, or about 13 percent, while exports to Germany, Mexico and Russia also grew. But exports to Ireland and Japan dropped considerably-both connected to a decline in the state's two largest export categories: machinery and optics. Most other categories saw growth; aircraft exports more than tripled, thanks mostly to skyrocketing shipments of aerospace parts to Russia, according to the state.

Ronald A. Wirtz