A closer look at Washington exports

Jon Talton, August 12, 2014, Seattle Times

If you go to the federal government’s TradeStats Express site, it provides a wealth of data on state exports going back to 1999. It shows, for example, that Washington’s merchandise exports have increased 130 percent from 2003 through 2013. The drawback is that these are nominal dollars not adjusted for inflation.


Chaining the numbers to 2013 dollars, the increase is about 82 percent. That’s still an increase most states would die for — thanks, Boeing. To be sure, the money those exports brought in for 2003 had real meaning, in other words the nominal dollars were “real” in purchasing power at the time. But adjusting for inflation gives a better view over the long haul.


According to data from from WiserTrade of Leverett, Mass., Washington’s goods exports totaled $35.7 billion through May. If that track continues, the state would close out the year with $85.7 billion in goods sold to the world, a new record. In 2013, the number was $81.6 billion. But even in nominal dollars, the growth will be about 5 percent, which is not surprising given the slowdown in Asia.

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