That dollar amount reflects a -2.3% decrease from $21.4 billion four years earlier in 2018.
Year over year, the overall value of Alabamian exports accelerated by 20.4% compared to $17.4 billion during 2020.
Looking ahead to 2022, the value of Alabama’s exports from January to August 2022 totaled $16.6 billion. The dollar sum for exports from Alabama is projected to be an annualized $24.9 billion, advancing by 19.2% versus $20.9 billion for 2021.
Alabama ranks among America’s 25 biggest exporters by state behind front-runners including Texas, California, New York and Washington state. The value of Alabama’s exports equals 1.2% of the United States’ overall exported products for 2021.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Alabama’s exported products represent 8.5% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product ($247.1 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics).
Given Alabama’s population of 5.04 million people, its total $20.9 billion in 2021 exported goods translates to roughly $4,200 for every resident in the Cotton State. That dollar metric eclipses the average $3,500 per capita for 2020.
Alabama’s unemployment rate was 2.6% in August 2022, down from 4% in February 2021 per YCharts.
Alabama’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Alabama global shipments during 2021. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Alabama.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): US$3.4 billion (16.2% of Alabama’s total exports)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $1.22 billion (5.8%)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $1.22 billion (5.8%)
- Large automobiles (diesel engine): $1.2 billion (5.7%)
- Automobiles with diesel plus electric motors: $998.3 million (4.8%)
- Coal (non-agglomerated, bituminous) $709.8 million (3.4%)
- Chemical woodpulp soda (coniferous): $481.4 million (2.3%)
- Automobiles with spark ignition plus electric motors: $463 million (2.2%)
- Polycarbonates: $355.6 million (1.7%)
- Kraft paper, paperboard: $355.2 million (1.7%)
Alabama’s top 10 exports represent about half (49.6%) of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Automobiles with spark ignition and electric motors (up 2,347%) posted the fastest gain from 2020 to 2021, ahead of automobiles with diesel and electric motors (up 186.8%).
Incurring a double-digit decline among Alabama top 10 export products was non-agglomerated bituminous coal dragged down by a -23.9% reduction in Alabamian export sales.
More Key Facts about Alabama’s International Trade
Overall, Alabama incurred an -$10.6 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2021. That dollar amount reflects a 26.3% year-over-year expansion from -$8.4 billion in red ink in 2020.
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 Alabama’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2021.
- Crude petroleum oils: $2 billion (6.3% of Alabama’s total imports)
- Miscellaneous aircraft parts: $1.1 billion (3.4%)
- Motor vehicle body parts, accessories: $850.2 million (2.7%)
- Large spark-ignition piston engines: $831.6 million (2.6%)
- Insulated wiring (vehicle, aircraft): $731.6 million (2.3%)
- Supported catalysts with precious metals: $662.9 million (2.1%)
- Miscellaneous motor vehicle parts: $623 million (2%)
- Motor vehicle gear boxes: $620.5 million (2%)
- Parts of seats: $523.3 million (1.7%)
- Brakes, brake parts: $460.2 million (1.5%)
Alabama has highly negative net exports in the international trade of crude petroleum oils. In turn, these cashflows indicate Alabama’s competitive disadvantages under that mineral fuels-related category.
Alabama’s Major Trading Partners
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchase well over three-quarters (75%) worth of the total value of products exported from Alabama during 2021.
- Germany: $3.7 billion (17.7% of Alabama’s total exports)
- Canada: $3.5 billion (16.7%)
- China: $3.15 billion (15.1%)
- Mexico: $2.5 billion (11.8%)
- South Korea: $922.6 million (4.4%)
- Japan: $729.5 million (3.5%)
- United Kingdom: $415.4 million (2%)
- Belgium: $415 million (2%)
- Australia: $382.8 million (1.8%)
- Brazil: $33.5 million (1.6%)
Alabama’s top trade partners in North America (Canada and Mexico) bought 28.5% of the overall value of exported goods from the Cotton State.
In comparison, major importers in Asia (mainland China, South Korea and Japan) accounted for 23% of total Alabamian exports versus 21.7% for Europe (Germany, United Kingdom and Belgium).
Alabama Export Companies
Three Alabama-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Those firms are listed below.
- Encompass Health Corp (healthcare services)
- Regions Financial Corp (retail/commercial banking)
- Vulcan Materials Company (crushed stone, gravel, sand)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of products or services that each business offers, some of which are related to Alabama’s international trade transactions.
Alabama’s capital is Montgomery, a city nicknamed “The Gump”, “Cradle of the Confederacy” and “Birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement”.
See also Utah’s Top 10 Exports, New York State’s Top 10 Exports, Top 10 Exports from Texas and Maine’s Top 10 Exports
Department of Numbers, Alabama GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on October 17, 2022
FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on October 17, 2022
Forbes, Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on October 17, 2022
GeoLounge, Fortune 1000 Companies List for 2018 , Fortune 1000 by State and Place. Accessed on October 17, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on October 17, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on October 17, 2022
United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Alabama. Accessed on October 17, 2022
USA Trade Online, Official Source of Trade Statistics. Accessed on October 17, 2022
Wikipedia, Alabama. Accessed on October 17, 2022
Wikipedia, List of Alabama Companies. Accessed on October 17, 2022
Wikipedia, List of U.S. states and territories by GDP. Accessed on October 17, 2022
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Montgomery, United States. Accessed on October 17, 2022
YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on October 17, 2022