Nicknamed the “Pelican State” or the “Bayou State” and found in America’s southeastern region, Louisiana shipped US$66.2 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 16.2% increase from 2017 to 2018 and a 36.1% gain since 2015.
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 2018.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Louisiana’s exported products represent 25.9% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2018 ($255.5 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics).
Given Louisiana’s population of 4.660 million people, its total $66.2 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $14,200 for every resident in the Bayou State.
Louisiana’s unemployment rate was 4.5% at April 2019 down from 4.4% as of March 2018, per YCharts.
Louisiana’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Louisiana global shipments during 2018. 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: $15.3 billion (23.1% of Louisiana’s total exports)
- Soya beans: $8.6 billion (13%)
- Crude petroleum oils: $5.7 billion (8.6%)
- Light petroleum oils: $5.3 billion (8%)
- Corn: $4.9 billion (7.5%)
- Natural gas (liquid): $4 billion (6%)
- Solid residues including soya bean oil-cake: $2 billion (3.1%)
- Calcined petroleum coke: $859 million (1.3%)
- Polyvinyl chloride: $717 million (1.1%)
- Non-calcined petroleum coke: $644 million (1%)
Louisiana’s top 10 exports accounted for almost three-quarters (72.7%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Crude petroleum oils were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 138.2% from 2017 to 2018.
In second place for improving export sales was calcined petroleum coke which appreciated 123.1%.
Louisiana’s shipments of light petroleum oils posted the third-fastest gain in value up by 56.5%, ahead of the 47.5% increase for liquid natural gas.
The leading decliner among Louisiana’s top 10 export products were soya beans which retreated -19.1% year over year.
More Key Facts
Overall, Louisiana incurred an $26.2-billion surplus exporting and importing products during 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 35.8% year-over-year expansion from $19.3 billion in black ink one year earlier in 2017.
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 2018.
- Crude petroleum oils: $16.8 billion (42% of Louisiana’s total exports)
- Miscellaneous petroleum oils: $6.2 billion (15.6%)
- Refined copper cathodes: $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 purchased over half (54.3%) worth of the total value of products exported from Louisiana during 2018.
- Mexico $8.8 billion (13.4% of Louisiana’s total exports)
- South Korea $3.8 billion (5.8%)
- Netherlands $3.61 billion (5.5%)
- Brazil $3.59 billion (5.4%)
- Canada $3.55 billion (5.4%)
- China $3.05 billion (4.6%)
- India $2.67 billion (4%)
- Colombia $2.65 billion (4%)
- Japan $2.45 billion (3.7%)
- United Kingdom $1.7 billion (2.5%)
Louisiana’s top trade partners in Asia (South Korea, China, India, Japan) consumed a combined 18.1% of the value for goods shipped from the Bayou State in 2018. This compares with 18.8% 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 June 16, 2019
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United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on June 16, 2019
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Wikipedia, Louisiana. Accessed on June 16, 2019
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