Exports key to Michigan’s economic health

Posted on March 7, 2012

Exports to countries including Canada, Mexico and China are important to the economic health and future of Michigan, according to a report released Thursday.

The report from the Washington-based Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program analyzed 2010 U.S. export production following the 18-month Great Recession. It said that exports, especially in the auto industry, helped Michigan rebound.

“People in charge of economic development have to be focused on exports,” said Emilia Istrate, a senior research analyst at Brookings who is one of the report’s authors.

The value of Michigan exports was $57.6 billion in 2010, ranking 9th among states in that category, the report said. Among metropolitan areas, Detroit was No. 8 in exports with $26.6 billion and the Grand Rapids area was 52nd on the list at $5.4 billion.

The state has the potential for continued export growth, Istrate said.

In metropolitan areas such as Detroit, the report said, exports of transportation equipment led to employment gains. Metropolitan areas in the Midwest, led by Detroit, dominated the list of motor vehicle exporters to China.

The report used a different way to estimate the value of exports than U.S. Commerce Department figures, which said Michigan’s 2010 merchandise exports totaled $45 billion. The state’s exports rose to $50.8 billion in 2011, the department said.

The Brookings report, Istrate said, differs by estimating exports by location of production and includes exported services.

from USA Today