Jobs Supported by Exports Surge by 1.2 million

March 14, 2012

Martin Johnson and Chris Rasmussen are Senior Economists in the Office of Industry Analysis within the International Trade Administration

For the first time in U.S. history annual exports of goods and services crossed the $2 trillion threshold exceeding $2.1 trillion in 2011.  This increase in exports builds on the strong growth in 2010, and in 2011 exports of U.S. goods and services were up over 33 percent from 2009. This growth in exports corresponded with growth in jobs supported by U.S. exports.

We estimate that in 2011 jobs supported by exports increased to 9.7 million in 2011, up 1.2 million since 2009. While the total value of U.S. exports set an all time record in 2011, jobs supported by exports in 2011 were just shy of the 2008 peak of 9.8 million.  In 2011, every billion dollars of U.S. exports supported 5,080 jobs.

Traditionally we think of export oriented jobs as those engaged in making and transporting goods, like at ports, rail, trucks, and manufacturing facilities, as well as at customs brokers and freight forwarders.

However, jobs all along the supply chain of both manufacturing and service industries are captured in this estimate. That means that all of the people who make and install parts that eventually end up in large equipment or small electronics sold abroad are included in this estimate.

In addition, people who are involved in exporting services, such as legal and financial services and travel and tourism are also included.

While your company may not export directly, if you sell products or services to one that does, you are part of this overall export equation.