“This is a promising sign”—Alabama exports increase 22% in 2021

Alabama Exports
According to the Dept. of Commerce, these numbers point to an underlying resilience of our state’s economy. (Made in Alabama)

Gov. Kay Ivey recently announced that Alabama’s exports have increased by 22% in 2021—rising above even pre-pandemic levels. New figures from the federal government show that Alabama’s exports of goods and services totaled nearly $20.9 billion last year.

A resilient economy

“This is a promising sign that demand for Alabama-made goods and services remains strong, and that Alabama has an integral role to play in the worldwide recovery.”

Gov. Kay Ivey

It’s no question that the pandemic had a negative effect on many states’ economies. Alabama has shown positive growth since then, demonstrating gains in exports across the board in 2021 according to an analysis by the Office of International Trade at the Alabama Department of Commerce.

Many of our states’ key export categories have bounced back from their declines in 2020.

Top export destinations

Alabama businesses exported to 189 countries last year—proving that high-quality Alabama-made goods are in-demand in the global economy.

So where were the top destinations for our exports?

  1. Germany—$3.7B (up 65.7%)
  2. Canada—$3.4B (up 15.6%)
  3. China—$3.2B (up 1.6%)
  4. Mexico—$2.5B (up 35%)
  5. South Korea—$921.7M (up 47.3%)

 Japan, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Australia and Brazil rounded out the top 10.

What are we exporting?

“The impressive growth in exports of motor vehicles, iron and steel products, in addition to machinery, plastics and forestry products shows that Alabama is well-positioned to meet the demands of overseas buyers in a wide variety of sectors.”

Greg Canfield, Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce

According to Made in Alabama, Alabama’s #1 export category is transportation equipment, which reached $10.35B, surpassing the total for 2019.

After suffering a 17% decline in overseas shipments in 2020, Alabama’s motor vehicle exports are back on track, topping the pre-pandemic total by over $1B.

Overseas shipments of Alabama-made motor vehicles rose 38.4% in value, while exports of ships and boats jumped 40% last year.

Here are our other top export categories according to the AL Department of Commerce’s Office of International Trade:

  • Chemicals—$2.3B
  • Forest products—$1.5B
  • Primary metals manufacturing—$1.3B
  • Non-electrical machinery—$1.1B

A promising future

Minerals and ores, chemicals, paper and fabricated metal products all showed notable increases in exports as well.

Alabama moved up one spot to #24 in export volume across the country.

“It is critical that we build on the successes of 2021 in order to keep the momentum going.”

Greg Canfield, Secretary, Alabama Department of Commerce.

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Gabby Gervais
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