Resource Center
Arkansas

Arkansas Trade Facts

  • In 2016, Arkansas exported $5.7 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world, which supported an estimated 49 thousand jobs.

Exports from Arkansas and Jobs

  • Arkansas was the 35th largest state exporter of goods in 2016.

  • In 2016, Arkansas goods exports were $5.7 billion, an increase of 34 percent ($1.4 billion) from its export level in 2006.

  • Goods exports accounted for 4.8 percent of Arkansas GDP in 2015 (latest year available).

  • An estimated 49 thousand jobs were supported by Arkansas goods exports in 2015 (latest year available). Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from Arkansas and Jobs

  • In 2015, Arkansas exported $5.1 billion of manufactured products.

  • Arkansas exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 27 thousand jobs in 2015.

  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is transportation equipment, which accounted for $1.5 billion of Arkansas's total goods exports in 2016.

  • Other top manufacturing exports are chemicals ($806 million), food & kindred products ($596 million), machinery, except electrical ($439 million), and paper ($292 million).

Exports Sustain Thousands of Arkansas Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 2,345 companies exported from Arkansas locations in 2015 (latest year available). Of those, 1,831 (78.1 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.

  • Small and medium-sized firms generated 28.3 percent of Arkansas's total exports of goods in 2015.

Arkansas Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. Arkansas exported $1.2 billion in goods to Canada in 2016, representing 20 percent of the state’s total goods exports.

  • Canada was followed by France ($783 million), Mexico ($685 million), Japan ($281 million), and China ($275 million).

  • Arkansas’s exports (2016 Value)  to major world areas included:

    • APEC $3.2 billion

    • Asia $1.5 billion

    • European Union $1.4 billion

    • South/Central America and Caribbean $545 million

    • Sub-Saharan Africa  $78 million

  • 47 percent of Arkansas’s exports ($2.7 billion) go to current FTA partners.  

Agriculture in Arkansas depends on Exports

  • Arkansas is the country’s 16th largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $3.1 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2015 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).1

  • Arkansas exports of agricultural products supported roughly an estimated 28 thousand jobs in 2013 (latest data available), both on and off the farm.

  • Top Agricultural exports (2015 Value) were:

    • rice

      • 2015 State Value: $859 million

      • 2015 State Rank: 1

    • soybeans

      • 2015 State Value: $790 million

      • 2015 State Rank: 10

    • broiler meat

      • 2015 State Value: $346 million

      • 2015 State Rank: 4

    • soybean meal

      • 2015 State Value: $201 million

      • 2015 State Rank: 10

    • cotton

      • 2015 State Value: $166 million

      • 2015 State Rank: 6

International Investment Creates Jobs in Arkansas

  • In 2014 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 46,400 Arkansas workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Arkansas included the United Kingdom, Japan and France. 

  • Foreign investment in Arkansas was responsible for 4.7 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2014.

Arkansas’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2015 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Arkansas recorded goods exports: Memphis ($11.8 billion, portions of this MSA are shared with one or more states), Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway ($2.5 billion), Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers ($710 million, portions of this MSA are shared with one or more other states), Fort Smith ($485 million, portions of this MSA are shared with one or more other states), Pine Bluff ($251 million),Texarkana ($190 million, portions of this MSA are shared with one or more states), Jonesboro ($97 million) and Hot Springs ($96 million).