Exports from Ohio grew at a nominal rate of 8.7 percent from 2005 to 2006, according to a recent U.S. Census Bureau report. In comparison, the nation’s exports grew at a nominal growth rate of 14.7 percent, while exports out of Pennsylvania and Kentucky (other Fourth District states) grew at rates of 18.2 percent and 15.7 percent. Ohio exported $37.3 billion of goods and services in 2006, more than most states. Only six states exported more, California and Texas ranking first and second among them.
Since 1997, Ohio’s share of total U.S. exports has remained relatively steady, hovering between 3.6–4.1 percent. Kentucky’s share, while significantly less than Ohio’s, has grown steadily over time, rising about 0.5 percent from 1997 to 2006. Pennsylvania’s share of exports grew slightly over the same period.
With respect to Ohio’s trading partners, Canada receives the largest share of the state’s exports (48.3 percent in 2006), which reflects a strong flow of automotive-related goods. Mexico is Ohio’s the next-largest trading partner, taking in 7.1 percent of Ohio’s exports. The share of the state’s exports going to Mexico increased 80 percent from 1997 to 2006, while the share going to China increased roughly 260 percent over the same period, though the volume of exports to China remains relatively small ($1.3 billion of goods in 2006). In contrast, the share of exports going to Japan has been cut in half. Compared to other states, a much larger fraction of Ohio’s exports go to Canada, which is not too surprising given Ohio’s proximity to Canada and the distribution of that country’s industries.
In terms of the industrial composition of exports, the industries with the largest export shares in 2006 are transportation (34 percent), machinery (14 percent), and chemicals (12 percent). These same three industries were the leading Ohio exporters in 1997. Compared with the nation as a whole, Ohio has higher export share of transportation equipment but a lower share of computer equipment.This is particularly true for agricultural commodities and for some manufactured goods that are sold through out-of-state distribution centers.
Some products are intermediate goods that are used to produce exported goods but are not counted as exports in the trade statistics. The Census Bureau, in its publication Exports from Manufacturing Establishments, estimates the value of manufactured exports and their related employment by state, including estimates of both directly exported products as well as the intermediate goods and services used to produce exports. For 2005, the Census Bureau estimates that Ohio produced $56.8 billion of exported goods—final plus intermediate goods. Under this definition of exports, Ohio ranks third in the country in terms of exported manufactured goods, behind only California and Texas. The employment related to export production in Ohio totals 162.3 thousand jobs. Overall, these estimates suggest that 20 percent of the manufacturing shipments in Ohio are either direct exports or intermediate goods used to produce exported goods.