November 2015

December 01, 2015 | Revenue & Economic Update

Preliminary data for 2015 suggest that the dollar value of Pennsylvania exports to other countries will increase to $39.9 billion, an average growth rate of 6.0% per annum from 2005 ($22.3 billion). The export growth rate outpaced that of the Pennsylvania economy (measured by state gross domestic product), which grew at an average rate of 3.1% per annum over the same time period.

The figure below displays Pennsylvania export data for the five largest commodities, all other commodities and average annual growth rates (AAGR) from 2005 to 2015. The data represent the total dollar value of exports, based on the state from which the merchandise begins its journey to the port of export. For some commodities, export values may represent the state where commodities are consolidated or stored, rather than the point of origin.

For 2015, chemical manufacturing is Pennsylvania’s largest export. Pharmaceuticals and medicines (10.7% AAGR) and basic chemicals (5.4% AAGR) comprise roughly three-quarters of this commodity. Transportation equipment is the next largest export. Aerospace products and parts (10.3% AAGR) comprises 43% of the transportation equipment total. Other large subcategories include railroad rolling stock (4.0% AAGR) and other transportation equipment (1.2% AAGR).

The third and fourth largest exports in 2015 are machinery (except electrical) and computer and electronic products. Notable subcategories for machinery include other general purpose machinery (2.9% AAGR), and agriculture, construction and mining machinery (3.0% AAGR). For computer and electronic products, major subcategories include navigational/measuring/medical/control instruments (6.3% AAGR), communications equipment (13.5% AAGR) and computer equipment (8.0% AAGR).

In 2005, primary metal was the third largest export, but is now the fifth largest. Strong growth in the nonferrous (excluding aluminum) and processing commodity (4.9% AAGR) was offset by tepid growth in the iron, steel and ferroalloy commodity (0.4% AAGR).

The remaining 40% of Pennsylvania exports are in the all other category. Large commodities within this category include electrical equipment, appliances and components (8.5% AAGR), food and kindred products (12.2% AAGR), minerals and ores (16.5% AAGR), and plastics and rubber products (8.8% AAGR).

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