Nicknamed the “Pelican State” or the “Bayou State” and found in America’s southeastern region, Louisiana shipped US$63.7 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -5.4% decline from 2018 to 2019 but a 31.6% increase since 2016.
Louisiana is America’s fifth-biggest exporter by state behind front-runners Texas, California, New York and Washington state. The value of Louisiana’s exports equals 4% of United States’ overall exported products for 2019.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Louisiana’s exported products represent 24.7% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2018 ($257.3 billion in current dollars based on Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economic research statistics).
Given Louisiana’s population of 4.649 million people, its total $63.7 billion in 2019 exports translates to roughly $13,700 for every resident in the Bayou State.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 4.9% at December 2019, up from 4.5% as of April 2019 per YCharts.
Louisiana’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Louisiana global shipments during 2019. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Louisiana.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $15.7 billion (24.7% of Louisiana’s total exports)
- Soya beans: $9.1 billion (14.3%)
- Natural gas (liquid): $6 billion (9.4%)
- Light petroleum oils: $4.8 billion (7.6%)
- Crude petroleum oils: $4.4 billion (6.9%)
- Corn: $3.3 billion (5.3%)
- Solid residues including soya bean oil-cake: $1.7 billion (2.7%)
- Wheat (excluding durum): $818 million (1.3%)
- Polyvinyl chloride: $718 million (1.1%)
- Miscellaneous organic/inorganic compounds: $644 million (1%)
Louisiana’s top 10 exports accounted for roughly three-quarters (74.3%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Natural gas in liquid form was the fastest grower among the top 10 export categories, up by 51.8% from 2018 to 2019. In second place for improving export sales was wheat which appreciated 43.8%. Louisiana’s shipments of miscellaneous organic and inorganic compounds posted the third-fastest gain in value thanks to a 15.2% gain.
Year over year, leading the decliners among Louisiana’s top 10 export product categories were: corn (down -31.7%), crude petroleum oils (down -25.2%), solid residues including soya bean oil-cake (down -13.9%) and light petroleum oils (down -12.4%).
More Key Facts
Overall, Louisiana incurred an $23.7-billion trade surplus exporting and importing products during 2019. That dollar amount reflects a -20.1% year-over-year drop from $29.6 billion in black ink one year earlier in 2018.
Another way of saying surplus or deficit is positive or negative net exports. In a nutshell, the term “net exports” quantifies the amount by which foreign spending on a state’s goods or services exceeds or lags that same state’s spending on foreign goods or services.
Below are Louisiana’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2019.
- Crude petroleum oils: $16.8 billion (42% of Louisiana’s total imports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $6.2 billion (15.6%)
- Copper cathodes (unwrought): $882 million (2.2%)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $811 million (2%)
- Urea: $682 million (1.7%)
- Unroasted caffeinated coffee: $602 million (1.5%)
- Ammonium dihydrogenorthophospha: $577 million (1.4%)
- Unalloyed aluminum (unwrought): $563 million (1.4%)
- Light petroleum oils: $431 million (1.1%)
- Diammonium hydrogenorthophospha: $411 million (1%)
Louisiana has highly positive net exports in the international trade of miscellaneous and light petroleum oils, soya beans, corn and liquid natural gas. In turn, these cashflows indicate Louisiana’s strong competitive advantages under these product categories on the global marketplace.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase over half (56.2%) worth of the total value of products exported from Louisiana during 2019.
- Mexico $8.4 billion (13.1% of Louisiana’s total exports)
- China $5 billion (7.8%)
- Brazil $3.83 billion (6%)
- South Korea $3.64 billion (5.7%)
- Netherlands $3.1 billion (4.9%)
- Canada $2.91 billion (4.6%)
- Japan $2.62 billion (4.1%)
- Colombia $2.33 billion (3.7%)
- India $2.08 billion (3.3%)
- United Kingdom $1.92 billion (3%)
Louisiana’s top trade partners in Asia (China, South Korea, Japan, India) consumed a combined 20.9% of the value for goods shipped from the Bayou State in 2019. This compares with 17.7% worth that was sent from Louisiana to its North American trade partners, Canada and Mexico.
Louisiana Export Companies
Four of the corporations located in Louisiana rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses.
- Albemarle Corporation (specialty chemicals)
- CenturyLink (telecommunications)
- Entergy Corp (electricity, natural gas)
- POOLCORP (swimming pool supplies)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products (or services) in which each business deals.
Louisiana’s capital is Baton Rouge, the city nicknamed “B.R.” and the “Red Stick” (the latter a translation for le bâton rouge in French).
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
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International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 12, 2020
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United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on March 12, 2020
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Wikipedia, Louisiana. Accessed on March 12, 2020
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Baton Rouge, United States. Accessed on March 12, 2020
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