N.H. exports rise for seventh consecutive month

Two natural disasters and one labor dispute substantially influenced international trade statistics in three regions, and thus distorted the national picture on export performance in September.

Foreign shipments from Louisiana and Texas plummeted by 32 and 14 percent, respectively, reflecting rampant shutdowns of production and trade operations following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Overseas sales from Washington state, where aircraft sales make up half of all exports, plunged 52 percent in September in the wake of a strike at aircraft-maker and leading exporter Boeing.

The shock-induced sharp declines in the three states – whose combined exports account for a fifth of all exports – pushed national exports down in September.

U.S. exports of goods dropped by 4.3 percent to $73.4 billion, adjusted for seasonal variation — the largest monthly decline since September 2001, when national exports of goods declined by 5.7 percent.

Excluding Louisiana, Texas and Washington, national exports jumped in September by 1.7 percent to $60.2 billion, adjusted for seasonal variation, from $59.2 billion in August. In other words, U.S. exporters were still setting a record-breaking path in September when the transitory regional shocks are isolated.

In New Hampshire, a strengthening in international demand for goods made in the Granite State contributed to an increase in foreign sales adding local jobs tied to exports and improving state economic development.

Foreign sales from state companies rose to $224.3 million in September — $3 million, or 1.3 percent, more than the volume recorded in August.

In September of 2005, New Hampshire companies shipped abroad $16.2 million, or 7.8 percent, more goods than in September of 2004.

September’s exports were largely driven by manufactured goods, which accounted for 83 percent of all state exports. Foreign shipments from New Hampshire’s manufacturers were nearly flat, edging slightly down in September by 0.3 percent from the previous month to $187 million, adjusted for seasonal variation.

On an annual basis, sales abroad from state factories were $22.4 million, or 7.8 percent, higher than in September of last year.

The natural connection between production and employment translates to a great linkage between foreign sales and export-related jobs. Considering the state’s composition of international trade, industrial mix and productivity, one in every four manufacturing jobs in the Granite State is attributable to exports of manufactured goods.

In New Hampshire, for every one hundred jobs generated directly by exports of manufactures, there are an additional 104 indirect, export-supporting, jobs generated in all other industries in the state.

Exports of non-manufactured goods went up 10.2 percent in September, to $37.3 million, adjusted for seasonal variation. New Hampshire ranked 31st in export growth among the 50 states during the first nine months of this year. Particularly, in comparison to the same period in 2004, foreign sales from New Hampshire’s companies, seasonally adjusted, increased by an annual rate of 10.4 percent, compared with an average rise of 10.7 percent for the nation as a whole.

Evangelos Simos, chief economist of the consulting and research firm Infometrica Inc., is editor for international affairs at the Journal of Business Forecasting, and professor/department chair at the Whittemore School of Business and Economics at the University of New Hampshire.

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