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Iowa

Iowa Trade Facts

  • In 2018, Iowa exported $14.4 billion of Made-in-America goods to the world. In 2016, exports from Iowa supported an estimated 94 thousand jobs.

Exports from Iowa and Jobs

  • Iowa was the 28th largest state exporter of goods in 2018.
     
  • In 2018, Iowa goods exports were $14.4 billion, an increase of 19 percent ($2.3 billion) from its export level in 2008.
     
  • Goods exports accounted for 7.6 percent of Iowa GDP in 2018.
     
  • Iowa goods exports in 2016 (latest year available) supported an estimated 94 thousand jobs. Nationally, jobs supported by goods exports pay up to an estimated 18 percent above the national average.

Made-in-America Manufacturing Exports from Iowa and Jobs

  • In 2018, Iowa exported $12.0 billion of manufactured products.
     
  • Iowa exports of manufactured products supported an estimated 59 thousand jobs in 2016.
     
  • The state's largest manufacturing export category is machinery, except electrical, which accounted for $3.5 billion of Iowa's total goods exports in 2018.
     
  • Other top manufacturing exports are food & kindred products ($3.0 billion), chemicals ($1.8 billion), transportation equipment ($984 million), and computer & electronic products ($615 million).

Exports Sustain Thousands of Iowa Businesses many of which are SMEs

  • A total of 3,163 companies exported from Iowa locations in 2016 (latest year available). Of those, 2,616 (83 percent) were small and medium sized enterprises with fewer than 500 employees.
     
  • Small and medium-sized firms generated 21.6 percent of Iowa's total exports of goods in 2016.

Iowa Depends on World Markets

  • The state’s largest market was Canada. Iowa exported $4.3 billion in goods to Canada in 2018, representing 30 percent of the state’s total goods exports.
     
  • Canada was followed by Mexico ($2.3 billion), Japan ($975 million), China ($627 million), and Germany ($458 million).
  • Iowa’s exports (2018 value) to major world areas included:

    • APEC $10.2 billion

    • Asia $3.1 billion

    • European Union $2.2 billion

    • South/Central America and Caribbean $1.0 billion

    • Sub-Saharan Africa  $91 million

  • 56 percent of Iowa’s exports ($8.1 billion) go to current FTA partners. 

Agriculture in Iowa depends on Exports

  • Iowa is the country’s 2nd largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $10.3 billion in domestic agricultural exports abroad in 2017 (latest data available according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).1

  • Top Agricultural exports (2017 values) were:

    • soybeans

      • 2017 Value: $2.7 billion

      • 2017 State Rank: 2

    • pork

      • 2017 Value: $2.2 billion

      • 2017 State Rank: 1

    • corn

      • 2017 Value: $1.6 billion

      • 2017 State Rank: 1

    • feeds and other grains

      • 2017 Value: $1.2 billion

      • 2017 State Rank: 1

    • grain products, processed

      • 2017 Value: $544 million

      • 2017 State Rank: 1

International Investment Creates Jobs in Iowa

  • In 2015 (latest data available), foreign-controlled companies employed 60,300 Iowa workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Iowa included the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Japan.
     
  • Foreign investment in Iowa was responsible for 4.2 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2015.

Iowa’s Major Metropolitan Areas Benefit from Exporting

  • In 2017 (latest data available), the following metropolitan areas in Iowa recorded goods exports: Davenport ($5.4 billion), Omaha ($3.8 billion), Sioux City ($1.3 billion), Des Moines ($1.1 billion), Cedar Rapids ($1.1 billion), Ames ($385.8 million), Iowa City ($290.4 million), Waterloo ($255.9 million), Dubuque ($129.4 million).

 

[1] Estimates of state exports of agricultural products by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and goods exports by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce are based on different methodologies and are not directly comparable.