Wisconsin exports declined by 25% in May and are now down nearly 10% for the first five months of the year, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
May’s decline amounted to a nearly $469 million drop in exports, which are down $897 million from this time last year.
To make matters worse, 2019’s export totals were hurt by growing international trade tensions between the U.S., and China, Europe, Mexico and Canada.
Compared to 2018, exports are down more than $1.26 billion as businesses deal with the economic fallout of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Despite the large declines, Wisconsin’s export totals compare favorably to other states. The 25% decline in May was the 18th best “growth” rate in May. Just three states – Nevada, Alaska and Hawaii – saw year-over-year increases in May.
Year-to-date, Wisconsin ranks 20th in the country with a 9.8% decline.
Exports to Canada, the top destination for Wisconsin products, have declined 16.8% year-to-date to $2.41 billion, including a 31% decline in May.
Other top export markets have seen similar results. Shipments to Mexico are down 33% for the year to $968 million, including a 59% decline in May. Sales to Europe are down 7.1% to $1.76 billion, including a nearly 24% decrease in May.
Exports to China, however, are a different story as exports have been up every month except April. For the year, sales to China are up 20.8% to $613 million, including a 21.8% jump in May.
Wisconsin has also seen a decline in imports compared to last year. International shipments into the state declined $309 million or 13% in May, a figure that was still the 10th highest rate in the country.
Year-to-date, imports are down $1.25 billion to around $10.22 billion.
Imports from China alone are down $724 million for the year of 27%, but imports from Asia have seen less of a decline, down 12%.
Imports from a number of other Asian countries are up compared to 2019, suggesting that products that had been sourced in China may now be sourced from other countries after increasing trade tensions last year. Countries seeing an increase include Vietnam, 7.8%, Japan, 17.2%, Taiwan, 35.1%, South Korea, 12.3%, Malaysia, 55.6%, Thailand, 58.4%, and Cambodia, 25.4%.
Combined, Wisconsin has imported $316 million more from those countries.