New Hampshire exports continue to grow

Following monthly gains of 2.4 percent in July, foreign sales from New Hampshire’s companies rose 2 percent in August. The $4.4 million monthly rise in foreign shipments from the previous month brought exports to $221.7 million in August, adjusted for seasonal variation — the highest level since April 2001.

Compared with last year, the latest snapshot in state exports shows an improvement in foreign demand for goods made in the Granite State. In August, consumers and businesses from abroad bought $33.1 million, or 17.6 percent, more goods made in New Hampshire than a year ago.

Five exporting industries contributed about three-fourths to all state exports in August. Electrical equipment – mostly telecommunication products and integrated circuits – was the state’s largest exporting industry, creating $67 million of export revenues, adjusted for seasonal variation.

Machinery – mainly office equipment, personal computers and other high-tech products – was the state’s second-largest export earner, generating $64 million in foreign sales in August. Medical instruments was the third-largest exporting industry, with shipments abroad of $26 million in August.

Combined foreign sales of these three industries totaled $157 million, 71 percent of all state exports in August. Plastics, wood and lumber followed in the list of the top five exporting industries.

At the broad economic level, exports from state manufacturing companies significantly improved in August. Led by electrical equipment companies, shipments abroad from New Hampshire plants climbed 3.4 percent from the previous month to $187.7 million, adjusted for seasonal variation — the highest level in nearly five years.

Manufactured goods accounted for 85 percent of all state exports in August. Compared with last year, August’s shipments abroad from state factories were $31.2 million higher. This is important news for the state’s job market and overall economic development as the industrial mix of foreign sales implies that one in every four factory jobs is tied to manufacturers’ exports.

In particular, August’s exports of manufactured goods supported 19.6 thousand manufacturing jobs in New Hampshire. Of great consequence, selling abroad domestically produced goods sparks off significant ripple effects in other industries.

An additional 20,300 New Hampshire jobs in wholesale and retail trade, transportation, business services and to a lesser degree utilities, mining and agriculture were generated by exports of manufactured goods in August.

Exports of non-manufactured goods totaled $34.1 million in August, a 5.2 percent decrease from July. This group consists of agricultural goods, mining products and re-exports.

At the national level, exports of goods, adjusted for seasonal variation, advanced 2.1 percent in August to a record-high $76.7 billion from July, mainly reflecting increases in capital goods, automotive vehicles, parts and engines, industrial supplies and materials, foods, feeds and beverages.

Looking at export growth, New Hampshire ranked 32nd among the 50 states in the first eight months of this year. New Hampshire’s annual growth in foreign sales was 10.8 percent, compared to the same period a year ago, adjusted for seasonal variation. For the nation as a whole, exports increased 11.2 percent during the same period.

Evangelos Simos, chief economist of the consulting and research firm Infometrica Inc., is editor of international affairs for the Journal of Business Forecasting and professor and department chair at the University of New Hampshire. He may be reached at Distributed by Infometrica Inc.

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