Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Exports

Pennsylvania state flag courtesy of

Pennsylvania state flag

Nicknamed the “Keystone State” or “Quaker State” and located in America’s northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions, Pennsylvania shipped US$41.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 6.1% gain from 2017 to 2018 and a 4.1% increase since 2015.

Pennsylvania is America’s tenth-biggest exporter by state behind front-runners including Texas, California, New York and Washington state. The value of Pennsylvania’s exports equals 2.5% of United States’ overall exported products for 2018.

Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Pennsylvania’s exported products represent 5.1% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2018 ($803.3 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics).

Given Pennsylvania’s population of 12.807 million people, its total $41.1 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $3,200 for every resident in the Quaker State.

Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 3.8% at April 2019 down from 4.8% as of March 2018, per YCharts.

Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Pennsylvania global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Pennsylvania.

Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.

  1. Coal (non-agglomerated, bituminous) US$2.7 billion (6.5% of Pennsylvania’s total exports)
  2. Human-use vaccines: $1.3 billion (3.2%)
  3. Miscellaneous medications: $1.1 billion (2.8%)
  4. Liquified propane: $1 billion (2.5%)
  5. Aircraft including engines, parts: $759 million (1.8%)
  6. Immunological goods for retail sale: $582 million (1.4%)
  7. Motorcycles (large piston engine): $495 million (1.2%)
  8. Ozone, oxygen: $438 million (1.1%)
  9. Cell phones: $393 million (1%)
  10. Precious metal compounds: $364 million (0.9%)

Pennsylvania’s top 10 exports accounted for 22.4% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.

Human-use vaccines were the fastest-growing among the top 10 export categories, up by 63.6% from 2017 to 2018.

In second place for improving export sales were precious metal compounds which rose 50.4%.

Pennsylvania’s international shipments of immunological goods for retail sale posted the third-fastest gain in value thanks to its 32.9% expansion.

The leading decliner among Pennsylvania’s top 10 export products was cell phones which retreated -17.1% year over year.

More Key Facts

Overall, Pennsylvania incurred a -$47.5 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 6.6% year-over-year increase from -$44.6 billion in red ink for 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 Pennsylvania’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2018.

  1. Miscellaneous medications: $10.5 billion (11.8% of Pennsylvania’s total imports)
  2. Crude petroleum oils: $10.1 billion (11.4%)
  3. Cell phones: $2.9 billion (3.3%)
  4. Human-use vaccines: $2.2 billion (2.5%)
  5. Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $2.1 billion (2.4%)
  6. Small portable digital computers: $1.5 billion (1.7%)
  7. Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $953 million (1%)
  8. Hormones-based chemical contraceptives: $720 million (1%)
  9. Immunological products in measured doses: $710 million (1%)
  10. Semi-trailer truck tractors $698 million (0.8%)

Pennsylvania has highly negative net exports in the international trade of a wide variety of medicines, unprocessed petroleum oils and mobile phones. In turn, these cashflows indicate Pennsylvania’s strong competitive disadvantages under those product categories showing the strong impact of foreign goods on the Pennsylvanian global balance sheet.


The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased 70.1% worth of the total value of products exported from Pennsylvania during 2018.

  1. Canada $10.8 billion (26.3% of Pennsylvania’s total exports)
  2. Mexico $4.2 billion (10.3%)
  3. China $2.6 billion (6.2%)
  4. United Kingdom $2.1 billion (5.2%)
  5. Japan $2.1 billion (5.2%)
  6. Netherlands $1.7 billion (4.1%)
  7. Belgium $1.5 billion (3.7%)
  8. India $1.39 billion (3.4%)
  9. Germany $1.38 billion (3.3%)
  10. South Korea $973 million (2.4%)

Pennsylvania’s top trade partners in North America, Canada and Mexico, bought 36.6% of the overall value of the state’s exported goods. That percentage compares to 17.2% for Asia’s leading importers (China, Japan, India, South Korea) of Pennsylvanian exports.


Pennsylvania Export Companies

Forty-six of Pennsylvania-headquartered corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that includes America’s largest businesses. Selected examples are shown below.

  • Carpenter Technology Corp (stainless steel, alloys)
  • Vishay Intertechnology (electronic components, semiconductors)
  • EQT Corp (petroleum, natural gas)
  • Armstrong World Industries (walls, ceilings)
  • United Refining Company (petroleum, gasoline)
  • EnerSys (batteries)
  • GNC (vitamins, other health-related foods)
  • Kennametal (tools, industrial materials)
  • Dentsply Sirona (dental supplies, equipment)
  • Unisys Corp (IT software, technology, services)

Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business sells.


Pennsylvania’s capital is Harrisburg, a city literally nicknamed “Pennsylvania’s Capital City”.

See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances

Research Sources:
Department of Numbers, Pennsylvania GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on June 16, 2019, Flags of US States. Accessed on June 16, 2019

Forbes, 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on June 16, 2019

GeoLounge, Fortune 1000 Companies List, Fortune 1000 by State and Place. Accessed on June 16, 2019

International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 16, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 16, 2019

United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on June 16, 2019

United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Pennsylvania. Accessed on June 16, 2019

Wikipedia, Category:Companies based in Pennsylvania. Accessed on June 16, 2019

Wikipedia, List of U.S. states and territories by GDP. Accessed on June 16, 2019

Wikipedia, Pennsylvania. Accessed on June 16, 2019

World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Harrisburg, United States. Accessed on June 16, 2019

YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on June 16, 2019