The University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Donahue Institute

2014 Publication Archive

Massachusetts Export Trends - Why is the State Missing Out on the Nation’s Recent Export Boom?

The UMass Donahue Institute’s Economic and Public Policy Research group published an analysis of Massachusetts export growth, looking at recent trends in the state’s exports to understand why they are not keeping up with the nation’s. The state has failed to bounce back from the dramatic fall-off in international trade that hit both the state’s and nation’s exports in 2009.

U.S. exports have surged by nearly 50 percent since the 2009 low, but Massachusetts has seen growth of less than 14 percent. As of 2013, the state ranks at 49th among the 50 states in export growth.

Massachusetts exports have performed a bit stronger the past two years, with growth rates slightly above the U.S. growth in 2013 and year-to-date through September 2014, but not nearly enough to close the gap in growth. With exports not keeping up with the nation’s, Massachusetts’ “export intensity” (exports as a share of gross domestic product) was 6.0 percent in 2013 compared to 9.5 percent for the United States. Prior to the recession, the Commonwealth’s export intensity had been as high as 7.4 percent in 2008.

International trade is a key contributor to the Massachusetts economy and the relatively lackluster recent performance of the state’s exports is a potential concern.  If Massachusetts had kept pace with U.S. export growth since the recession, exports would have totaled $35.3 billion in 2013, some $8.5 billion higher than the actual figure..

By: Branner Stewart, Daniel Hodge


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