One reason for Iowa’s improving economy is an increase in exports. A recent report shows exports of Iowa goods grew by almost 10-percent between 2011 and 2012. That’s more than double the national growth (4.46%).
Kathy Hill, with the Iowa Economic Development Authority, says last year Iowa exported over $14.6 billion worth of products to countries around the world. “More and more companies that export understand the importance of maintaining their global market share and companies that are new to exporting are understanding the importance of becoming globally competitive,” Hill said.
“By doing so, we’re assuring employment for Iowans.” Based on estimates from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Iowa’s exporting companies support 73,000 jobs in the state. Iowa’s top exported product is machinery. “That could be anything from a washing machine to a high tech machine that a company might use within the bio-tech industry,” Hill said.
“The second largest category is vehicles. That includes our tractors, earth movers or anything that’s a self-propelled vehicle and a lot of their parts.” Iowa’s third top exported product is processed meat. More than 2,500 businesses in Iowa export goods and 84-percent of them are considered small to medium sized companies.
In 2012, the top five countries receiving Iowa exports were Canada, Mexico, Japan, China and Germany. Iowa Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds and delegation of about 20 Iowans representing government, business and agriculture completed a trade mission earlier this month to the Philippines and Vietnam.