Wisconsin companies have exported $9.61 billion in goods around the world through the first five months of 2021, the best start to a year since 2014, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Exports are up nearly $1.36 billion so far this year compared to 2020, when COVID-19 restrictions dramatically curtailed global trade. The difference in April and May alone adds up to a more than a $1 billion increase.
The state is also 5.2% ahead of its pace from 2019 when companies were dealing with escalating trade and tariff tensions. Compared to 2018, which covers the period just before new tariffs began going into effect, Wisconsin exports are up 1.1% through the end of May.
Compared to 2018, exports to Asia are up 0.7%, including a nearly 8.8% increase in exports to China. Exports to Europe are up 7% while shipments to two major destinations, Canada and Mexico, are down 1.2% and 11.8% respectively.
On the import side, activity is picking up as well, with $13.78 billion in goods brought into the state through May. The five-month total is a $3.6 billion or 35% increase from the same period in 2020 and a nearly $1.9 billion or 16% increase from 2018, the most recent peak in total imports.
In May alone, Wisconsin imported $3.24 billion in goods, the second highest total for any month behind the nearly $3.3 billion total in October 2018. The only other time the state has crossed $3 billion in imports for a month was in March of this year.
Compared to 2018 levels, imports from Asia are up 12% for the first five months of the year, although they are down 5.4% from China. Imports from Europe are up 31% and they are up 13.2% from Canada. Imports from Mexico have declined nearly 2%.