Soybeans, Cornhuskers and Mexico

You might be surprised to learn that 99 percent of all soybeans produced in Nebraska are exported to Mexico. Or that more than 8 million U.S. jobs depend on trade with Canada alone, equal to 4.4 percent of total U.S. employment - or 1 in 23 American jobs. And over the past decade, Vermont’s exports to China grew by over 4,300%.

The importance of exports to U.S. economic growth and success is difficult to understate. In 2010, exports from the U.S. totaled $1.84 trillion, jumping 17% over 2009, and supported more than 9 million jobs. President Barack Obama’s National Export Initiative, announced in January 2010, aims to double total U.S. exports by 2014. And during his 2011 State of the Union Speech, the president reiterated his commitment to increasing exports as a way to encourage job growth, saying, “we need to export more of our goods. Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America.”

Peter O'Neil, Executive Director of Center for Trade Development at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development Center, also knows that the globalized economy now requires a state wishing to have a well-rounded development strategy to look beyond our national borders.  “It should be no surprise that most state economies will increasingly rely on global markets for domestic jobs creation.  And it must be recognized that there is a necessary and appropriate role at state and local levels for economic developers to become literate and conversant in global economic issues that can serve as inhibitors or catalysts to business growth,” said O’Neil.

Click on the map below to learn more about where your state’s exports are headed and how many trading offices states are operating overseas.