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Alabama Trade Facts

  • In 2013, Alabama goods exports were $19.3 billion, up 56 percent ($6.9) billion from 2009, and up 132 percent ($11.0 billion) from 2003(according to the U.S. Dept of Commerce). Goods exports accounted for 10.0 percent of Alabama GDP in 2013.  Alabama was the 22nd largest state exporter of goods in 2013.
  • In 2013, jobs supported by Alabama’s goods exports are estimated to be 99 thousand.   U.S. jobs supported by goods exports pay an estimated 13 to 18 percent higher than the national average wage.

Manufacturing Exports and Jobs

  • Alabama’s manufacturing exports supported 25.3 percent of its total manufacturing employment in 2011 (latest year available).
  • Alabama's exports of manufactured products were up by 130 percent between 2003 and 2013 (from $7.5 billion in 2003 to $17.4 billion in 2013).
  • The five largest manufacturing sectors in terms of Alabama's exports were: Transportation Equipment ($8.4 billion of exports in 2013), Chemicals ($2.5 billion), Primary Metal Manufacturing ($1.5 billion), Machinery ($879 million), and Paper ($736 million). These 5 sectors accounted for 80 percent of the state's total manufacturing exports.

Agriculture Exports

  • Alabama is the country’s 31st largest agricultural exporting state, shipping $1.3 billion in agricultural exports abroad in 2012 (latest data available) according to the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture).[1]  Alabama is the 4th largest state exporter of poultry ($519 million), the 10th largest state exporter of cotton ($239 million), followed by soybeans ($108 million).  These three categories accounted for 65 percent of Alabama’s agricultural exports in 2012. 

Export Markets

  • Alabama’s state exports of goods to the 20 existing FTA countries totaled $8.6 billion in 2013, 44% of Alabama’s total goods exports to the world. 
  • Canada is Alabama’s largest export market, with $4.3 billion or 22% of Alabama’s total goods exports, China ($2.5 billion), followed by Germany ($2.2 billion), Mexico ($2.2  billion), and United Kingdom ($693 million).
  • In 2013, Alabama exported $11.7 billion to APEC, $4.8 billion to Asia, $4.3 billion to European Union, $1.9 billion to South/Central America and the Caribbean (excluding Mexico), and $296 million to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Small and Medium Sized Businesses

  • Over 3,200 Alabama small and medium sized businesses exported in 2012(latest data available), accounting for 81.7 percent of exporting businesses from Alabama and 18.2 percent of Alabama's exports by value.

Foreign Investment and Jobs

  • In 2011 (latest year available), foreign-controlled companies employed 86,600 Alabama workers. Major sources of foreign investment in Alabama in 2011 included Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
  • Foreign investment in Alabama was responsible for 5.7 percent of the state's total private-industry employment in 2011.

Major Metropolitan Areas Exports

  • In 2013, the following metropolitan areas in Alabama recorded goods exports: Birmingham-Hoover ($1.9 billion), Montgomery ($1.7 billion), Mobile ($1.5 billion), Huntsville ($1.5 billion), Decatur ($673 million), Daphne-Fairhope-Foley ($515 million), Auburn-Opelika ($395 million), Dothan ($375 million), Florence-Muscle Shoals ($230 million), and Anniston-Oxford-Jacksonville ($193 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.

Updated September 2014