Connecticut Sets Export Record In 2013
Connecticut was among 16 states that saw record levels of exports last year, with the sale of aerospace and related equipment accounting for nearly half of the $16.5 billion in exports, a report released Tuesday shows. Exporting for the nation as a whole in 2013 also rose to a record, $2.3 trillion. In Connecticut, the level of exports rose by 3 percent, from $16 billion in 2012, and was 7 percent higher than $15.4 billion in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. "I'm not surprised," said Peter Gioia, vice president and economist at the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. "Companies involved in exporting are getting more and more aggressive."
Gioia said the increases in the state's exporting in recent years — with the exception of a dip in 2012 — are tied to the fact that companies who are exporting are doing it in a sizable way. Most companies that are exporting are relying on international sales for at least a quarter of overall sales, Gioia said. Large manufacturers such as United Technologies Corp. and its high-profile engine business may first come to mind as the face of Connecticut's exporters. But there are companies of all sizes, Gioia said. "This isn't just UTC," Gioia said. "It's beyond that." But smaller companies say with 100 employees or fewer do find it more difficult to either begin or expand exporting because they "don't have the resources," Gioia said. The increases don't appear to be translating into more job growth in the state's manufacturing sector, however.
In 2013, the state lost 4,000 manufacturing jobs, a decline of 2.5 percent compared with 2012, according to the state Department of Labor. Gioia said he expects hiring this year, especially in the aerospace industry, though finding skilled workers remains a problem. But he also expects automation of the industry to continue, offsetting some of the need to hire. U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney said in a statement that Tuesday's report "shows that efforts by Connecticut's private sector, with support from effective Connecticut company trade missions, is yielding tangible results and increasing export growth in our state."
In addition to transportation equipment, other top export categories in Connecticut were machinery, except electrical, $1.9 billion; computer and electronic products, $1.3 billion; chemicals, $998 million; electrical equipment, appliances and components, $760 million. Connecticut exported the most to France, at $2.4 billion, followed by Canada, at $1.9 billion; Germany, $1.4 billion; the United Arab Emirates, $1.2 billion; and Mexico, $1.2 billion.