Regional Exports on the Rise
October 1, 2014
ROCKFORD, ILLINOIS – Exports from the Rockford Region rose a record 32% in 2013, according to new federal data. The total value of Rockford region exports – $2.53 Billion – is the highest on record, and places Rockford 89th in the nation’s metro areas in exports.
Export growth for the Rockford Region was particularly strong given that U.S. exports only rose 2% in 2013. The Rockford Region had the 37th largest export growth rate in the country in 2013.
Most other major manufacturing sectors also saw significant growth, especially Electrical Equipment and Components; Fabricated Metal Products and Computer and Electronic Products.
“The Rockford Region makes world-renowned products and makes them well,” said Carrie Zethmayr, Executive Director, Trade & Investment, for the Rockford Area Economic Development Council. “Our brands are known globally, whether the customers are motorists, airlines or major equipment manufacturers.”
“Export growth is a key driver of job creation, with an estimated one in five jobs in the U.S. attributed to exports,” Zethmayr stated. “Additionally, companies that export typically pay higher wages.”
The data was compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and the International Trade Administration, both segments of the Department of Commerce.
A 2013 report by The Brooking Institution found that exports were driving post-recession growth for major metro areas in the U.S. “Metro areas whose export intensity grew fastest experienced higher economic growth.”
“While major companies are leading exporters, small- and mid-sized companies can also greatly expand their exports,” remarked Zethmayr, “By focusing efforts internationally, companies can diversify their customer base and grow during changing economic times. While it may seem daunting to start exporting, there are more resources than ever to help companies start an export program and thrive at it. More and more companies of all sizes are able to sell their products globally, and we want to help the Rockford Region’s companies to continue the trend.”
Companies looking to grow exports should contact Ms. Zethmayr to learn about programs, such as the IL SBDC International Trade Center at the Rockford Area Economic Development Council, to develop effective market penetration strategies, establish cost-effective and efficient supply chain management operations, ensure compliance with trade regulations, and access additional resources to elevate their international trade.
Export growth wasn’t just overseas. Exports to Canada and Mexico from the Rockford Region grew 82% to more than $1 Billion. Exports also grew significantly to Europe and South America.
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