Exports from Rockford region increase 19 percent
Online Staff Report
Exports from the Rockford region rose 19 percent in 2011, the largest increase in five years, according to new federal data.
The total value of Rockford region exports — $1,562,841,281 — is the highest since the U.S. Department Commerce began tracking it in 2005.
Export growth for the Rockford region was higher than growth for U.S. exports as a whole.
“We are excited to see export growth return to pre-recession levels,” said Carrie Zethmayr, manager of the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center of the Rockford Area. “Our manufacturers know that the key to success in a global economy is to sell their products around the world. We see more activity and interest all the time.”
Machinery manufacturing is the largest piece of the Rockford region’s exports, making up nearly 30 percent. Machinery manufacturing was also the fastest-growing sector in 2011. Nearly 200 companies in the Rockford region work in that sector, producing industry-leading, high-precision metalworking, power transmission, assembly and other industrial equipment.
Transportation equipment manufacturing is the second-largest export sector for the Rockford region, thanks to the Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Ill., and aerospace manufacturers throughout the region. Transportation equipment manufacturing exports rose by 12 percent in 2011, ending four straight years of decreases. With the increased production from the Chrysler plant, and expansion announcements by several aerospace companies, it is expected transportation exports will increase further in 2012 and beyond.
The Rockford region has identified export growth as a key driver of job creation, with an estimated one in five jobs in the U.S. attributed to exports, Zethmayr said.
“Additionally, workers in jobs supported by exports typically receive higher wages than the national average,” she added. “Exports will enhance wealth creation for the Rockford region.”
The European Union is the biggest recipient of Rockford region exports, followed by North America and Asia. Exports to Asia have grown the fastest, more than doubling since 2006 and increasing 28 percent in 2011 alone.
Rockford ranked 114th out of 367 metropolitan areas in 2011. The data was compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and the International Trade Administration, both segments of the Department of Commerce.
According to a separate report by IHS Global Insight, exports from the Rockford region are projected to grow 70.5 percent by 2020 — the 32nd highest projected growth rate in the nation. The IHS Global Insight report, released in February, cited machinery manufacturing as the largest driver of that projected growth.
Companies looking to grow exports should contact the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center of the Rockford Area to learn about programs to develop effective market penetration strategies, establish cost-effective and efficient supply chain management operations, ensure compliance with trade regulations, and access additional resources to elevate their international trade.
“We are pleased that companies in the Rockford area have a growing recognition of the key role international trade plays in ensuring the long-term sustainability of a company, through market diversification, reduced costs, and enhanced supply chain management operations,” Zethmayr said. “We encourage all companies to consider how they can leverage international trade to increase sales, creating jobs in the Rockford region.”
The Rockford region export data was analyzed for the Illinois SBDC International Trade Center by the Rockford Region Economic Development District, which provides research assistance for Boone and Winnebago county economic development initiatives.
Posted Nov. 8, 2012
Print This Article