Utah leads in exports, World Bank helping

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Yet another hint that Utah’s economy is improving—the Beehive State is once again a leader in merchandise export growth in the U.S. with 39.5 percent growth from 2010 to 2011. This is the third year in a row that Utah has topped the list when it comes to growth in exports.

In 2010, President Barack Obama announced a National Export initiative to double exports in five years by helping farmers and small businesses increase and reform their exports. The anticipated impact of this initiative is the creation and support of two million jobs nationwide.

The Salt Lake Chamber outlined a 10-point plan called the Utah Jobs Agenda in January of 2011 emphasizing the importance of exports among other things like education.

Now Utah is leading the U.S. in merchandise export growth and is nearly halfway to Pres. Obama’s goal in only two years. In 2010, Utah had $13.8 billion in exports and that rose to an impressive $18.93 billion in 2011. Over the past five years alone, there’s been an overall 142.3 percent growth from Utah merchandise exports. Considering the economic fall America experienced during that time, this growth is rather remarkable.

World Trade Center Executive Vice President and Chief of Operations Elizabeth Goryunova says Utah’s export growth increase can be attributed to “a rise in awareness to what we are trying to achieve,” which is to increase the number of companies that aren’t exporting to establish international connections to start exporting goods. Goryunova says another goal is to “expand the market of the one percent of companies that do export.”

The World Bank issues grants and loans to developing countries for significant projects—coordinating with their governments to decide the best way to pursue them. The United States is a big shareholder in the World Bank and is a big contributor alongside other giants like Japan.

When the World Bank and the individual government of a country seeking assistance decide on a course of action, the World Bank calls on resources and companies of sponsors to contribute to the cause—including those in the U.S. This is where our exports get a big boost.

While Utah’s earnings from exports don’t compare to the hundreds of billions of dollars a seaside state does, Utah is experiencing export growth, while those ports have seen declines in revenue.

A big contributor to Utah’s success is the rising price of primary metals, like gold and copper. Because of this, our export total increases even though we may not necessarily be exporting more goods. Primary metals attributed to 64 percent of Utah’s exports in 2011—an increase of about 15 percent from 2010.

So what does this export growth mean? More jobs. The rise in merchandise exports increase production in Utah, creating more jobs that start the ripple effect that boosts the local economy. For every $90,000 in exports, one job is created. For example, with the $5 billion dollar boost in exports, Utah created 55,000 jobs more than it did in 2010.

By moving Utah businesses into profitable global markets, and by helping them secure World Bank funded projects, Utah exports can continue to increase at record levels. Chamber members interested in learning more about World Bank funded projects can contact the Chamber for more information.

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