Business Blog

Washington state sets record for exports in 2013

Washington was one of 16 states that set a new record for export sales in 2013, according to a new federal report.

Last year Washington exported $81.9 billion in goods, an 8.3 percent increase compared to 2012, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Washington ranks fourth-highest among U.S. states, behind Texas, California and New York. U.S. exports totaled $2.3 trillion last year, also a national record.

Whatcom County is one of the main exporting counties in the state. Figures aren't out yet for 2013, but in 2012 this area exported $1.6 billion in goods, trailing the Seattle area ($50.3 billion) and Skagit County ($2 billion).

Much of Whatcom County's exports come from the oil refineries and food manufacturing.

Washington's export sales have grown significantly since 2010, when this state tallied $53.3 billion in goods. Last year China was the biggest purchaser of Washington products, at $16.7 billion, followed by Canada ($8.7 billion), Japan ($7 billion), United Arab Emirates ($4 billion) and Mexico ($3.2 billion).

Transportation, particularly airplanes made by Boeing, topped the list of items exported out of Washington. The transportation category totaled $44.6 billion, more than half of all goods exported out of Washington. Agriculture was next on the list at $10.3 billion, followed by petroleum/coal ($4.7 billion) and computer/electronics ($3.7 billion).

In a news release accompanying the data, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker estimates that for every $1 billion in exports, nearly 5,000 jobs are supported across the U.S.

"Exports will continue to be an important driver of the local and national economy," Pritzker said.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or Read the Business Blog at or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.