KC Area Exports Trending Up
by Jeff Pinkerton
In 2011, Kansas City businesses exported nearly $8 billion worth of goods internationally. This makes the region the 37th largest exporting MSA in the country. In real terms, Kansas City’s international exports have increased by 41 percent increase since 2005.
The region exports a variety of goods, but the industries with the most exports are crop production, transportation equipment, chemicals, food, and computer and electronic products. The Kansas City area ranks 6th nationally in crop production exports and 16th nationally in both transportation equipment and food exports.
More than 50 percent of Kansas City’s exports stay in North America, with Canada and Mexico being the top two destinations for our products. Japan, China and South Korea round out the top five.
Exports are important to our regional economy for a few reasons. For starters, $8 billion is a significant portion of our regional GDP (about 7.5 percent). But a strong export market also positions the region on the world stage — something less tangible, but equally important.
We should note that the figures above only count for physical goods. The value of services that we export (think engineering and technical expertise) is also very significant. Our region’s ability to produce goods and services that are in demand internationally will determine how competitive Kansas City’s economy can be in the future.