Last updated on February 6th, 2020 at 11:51 am
A 10% decline in December left Wisconsin’s exports down by more than $1 billion last year compared to 2018 totals as companies dealt with global trade uncertainty and economic slowdowns in Europe and China, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Exports ended the year down 4.6% after being down as much as 5.2% in August. While still down year-over-year, Wisconsin’s export totals had been trending in a positive direction in the three months before December’s decline.
For the year, Wisconsin ranked 33rd in the country in terms of export growth and the state dropped from 19th to 22nd in terms of total exports. Across the Midwest, Wisconsin had the fifth best year for exports. Kansas and Indiana saw slight increases in exports while Minnesota and Ohio were down between 2% and 3%. Michigan was just behind Wisconsin with an export decline of 4.7%. Iowa and Illinois both saw declines of more than 8%.
Wisconsin’s December exports decline was primarily driven by a $40 million or 15.5% decline in shipments to Mexico, a $35.3 million or 9.4% decline in exports to Europe and a $26.2 or 5.3% decline in sales to Canada. Exports to China were down by 1% or $1.4 million in December.
For the year, U.S. exports of goods decreased by $21.3 billion or 1.3% to $1.67 trillion. Exports of services, meanwhile, increased $19.7 billion or 2.3% to $846 billion. Imports of goods declined $42.6 billion or 1.7% to $2.56 trillion. Imports of services, meanwhile, increased $30.2 billion to $587.5 billion, a 5.3% increase.
Wisconsin’s imports of goods also declined in 2019, dropping 8% or $2.48 billion for the year. In December alone, imports were down by 14%. The majority of the decrease came in imports from China, which decreased $1.77 billion or 34.4%. European imports were also down 14.4% or $318.8 million, Canadian imports dropped 9% or $467.1 million and Mexican imports dropped $46.8 million or 1.6%.
Some of the biggest declines in Wisconsin exports, in dollar terms, for December included a $70.2 million drop in civilian aircraft parts, a $15.4 million drop in battery waste and machine parts, a $15.1 million drop in wheat and meslin, a $13.8 million decline in self-propelled bulldozers, graders and scrapers and an $11.3 million drop in automatic data processing machines and magnetic readers.
The commodities with the largest uptick in December for Wisconsin included parts and accessories for cycles and invalid carriages, up $14.3 million, medical, surgical, dental and veterinary instruments, up $11.3 million, natural sands, up $9.3 million, and soybeans, up $8.1 million.