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Alabama exports soared to new record in 2022

The surge was driven by rising overseas shipments of Alabama-made vehicles, aerospace parts, and other products.

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Governor Kay Ivey Thursday announced that Alabama exports surged to over $25.5 billion in 2022, setting a new annual record and providing another indicator that the state’s economy is performing strongly. 

Last year’s surging export activity was driven by rising overseas shipments of Alabama-made vehicles, aerospace parts, chemicals, minerals, metals and paper products, according to data from the Alabama Department of Commerce.

The value of Alabama exports in 2022 jumped 22 percent compared to the prior year, which also saw a substantial increase. Alabama exports have soared almost 47 percent since 2020, when global trade tensions and the COVID-19 pandemic dragged down shipments. 

The 2022 export total is 17.5 percent higher than the $21.7 billion registered in 2017, the state’s previous annual record tally.

“Our record-breaking success when it comes to our exports is yet another example of the far reach of the ‘Made in Alabama’ brand and a direct result of our incredible companies and top-notch workforce,” said Governor Ivey. “Exporting is a fundamental economic pillar that supports growth in Alabama, contributing economic vitality and spurring job creation across the state.”

Alabama exports spanned the globe during 2022, going to 196 countries. The Top 5 destinations were:

  • Germany: $4.3 billion, a 16 percent gain
  • China: $3.8 billion, a 10 percent increase
  • Canada: $3.2 billion, up 3 percent 
  • Mexico: $2.8 billion, a 11 percent rise
  • Japan: $1 billion, a 42 percent jump

Other top destinations were South Korea, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Australia.

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“Setting a new annual export record is just another example of the economic success that Alabama is enjoying right now,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.“Despite turbulence on the national scene, Alabama’s economy is really humming on all cylinders and can keep rolling as a bounty of growth projects bring in new jobs and investment.” 

Alabama’s No. 1 export category — transportation equipment — helped power the state’s record performance during 2022, climbing above $11.4 billion, a gain of 9 percent. The category includes motor vehicles and parts, aerospace products and parts, and ships, among other things. 

Exports of Alabama-made vehicles approached $8.9 billion last year, an increase of 13 percent as shipments to top markets such as Germany, China and Canada all rose. Overseas shipments of aerospace products and parts surged 21 percent to exceed $1.7 billion, according to Commerce data.

All of Alabama’s top-ranking export categories posed major gains during 2022:

  • Chemicals ($2.7 billion) — up 19.5 percent 
  • Minerals and ores ($2 billion) — up 178 percent 
  • Primary metals ($1.6 billion) — up 20 percent 
  • Paper ($1.6 billion) — up 35 percent 

Christina Stimpson, director of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, said broad-based gains for Alabama exports represents good news for companies back home because it generates increased production, additional investment and new jobs.

“Seeing a new annual export record demonstrates the success of operating and producing in Alabama. Growth in production from exports means job creation for our communities,” said Stimpson. “Export Alabama is here to support Alabama businesses launching into export or expanding to new global markets.”

Commerce’s Office of International Trade offers resources to help Alabama companies enter profitable new overseas markets through frequent trade and business development missions, training, foreign-market information, and international contacts.

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The office is a partner in Export Alabama, a seamless network of international trade agencies that share the fundamental objective of helping Alabama companies expand their business internationally.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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