That dollar amount reflects a 4.3% rise from $33 billion four years earlier in 2019.
Year over year, the overall value of Kentucky’s exported goods accelerated by 16.5% compared to $29.6 billion in 2021.
Kentucky ranks among America’s 20 biggest exporters by state behind front-runners including Texas, California, Louisiana, New York State and Illinois. The value of Kentucky’s exports equals 1.7% of United States’ overall exported products for 2022.
Based on research from Statista, Kentucky’s exported products represent 17.1% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2022 ($201.4 billion).
Given Kentucky’s population of 4.512 million people, its total $34.44 billion in 2022 exports translates to roughly $7,600 for every resident in the Bluegrass State. That dollar metric exceeds the average $6,600 per capita in 2021.
Kentucky’s unemployment rate was 3.8% at the end of March 2023, down from 3.9% at February 2022 per YCharts.
Kentucky’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Kentucky global shipments during 2022. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Kentucky.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Civilian aircraft, engines or other parts: US$10.4 billion (30.2% of Kentucky’s total exports)
- Antisera, other blood fractions: $1.4 billion (4.1%)
- Composite diagnostic or laboratory reagents: $959.5 million (2.8%)
- Medium-size trucks (piston engine): $670.3 million (1.9%)
- Miscellaneous medications in doses for retail: $492.7 million (1.4%)
- Large automobiles (piston engine): $486 million (1.4%)
- Automobiles (piston engine plus electric motor): $425.2 million (1.2%)
- Transmission shafts: $416.3 million (1.2%)
- Whiskies: $404.7 million (1.2%)
- Medium-size automobiles (piston engine): $396.6 million (1.1%)
Kentucky’s top 10 exports accounted for 46.6% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Recording the greatest increase were blood fractions including antisera exported from Kentucky, up by 47.3% compared to 2021.
Close behind in second-place were automobiles powered by piston engine plus electric motor not charged by plug, via a 47.3% gain.
Other major increases belonged to civilian aircraft or engines and other parts (up 32.4% from 2021), medium-size automobiles powered by piston engine (up 25%) then miscellaneous medications in doses for retail sale (up 23.4%).
The lone decliner among Kentucky’s top 10 export products were large automobiles with piston engine, dragged down by a -15.4% reduction from international sales in 2021.
More Key Facts about Kentucky’s International Trade
Kentucky incurred an overall -$35.1 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2022. That dollar amount reflects an -8.5% decrease from the -$38.4 billion in red ink for 2021.
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 Kentucky’s top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2022.
- Immunological products in doses for retail: US$10.2 billion (14.7% of Kentucky’s total imports)
- Miscellaneous medications in doses for retail: $5.7 billion (8.2%)
- Turbo-jet parts: $2.9 billion (4.2%)
- Video game consoles, machines: $2.1 billion (3%)
- Machines for voice/image/data reception, transmission: $1.7 billion (2.4%)
- Antisera, other blood fractions: $1.1 billion (1.6%)
- Solid-state semi-conductor storage devices: $956 million (1.4%)
- Computer storage units: $916.9 million (1.3%)
- Piston engines: $891.3 million (1.3%)
- Small portable digital computers: $886.7 million (1.3%)
Kentucky has highly negative net exports in the international trade of immunological products and miscellaneous medications in dosage packaged for retail sale. In turn, these cashflows indicate Kentucky’s competitive disadvantages under those product categories.
Kentucky’s Major Trade Partners
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased over three-quarters (78.4%) worth of the total value of products exported from Kentucky during 2022.
- Canada: US$8.4 billion (24.5% of Kentucky’s total exports)
- Mexico: $3.53 billion (10.2%)
- United Kingdom: $3.49 billion (10.1%)
- mainland China: $2.5 billion (7.3%)
- France: $2.4 billion (6.9%)
- Brazi:l $2.2 billion (6.3%)
- Netherlands: $1.4 billion (4%)
- Japan: $1.13 billion (3.3%)
- Austria: $1 billion (3%)
- Malaysia: $926.7 million (2.7%)
Kentucky’s top trade partners in North America (Canada and Mexico) purchased over a third (34.7%) of the overall value of goods exported from the Bluegrass State in 2022.
In comparison, 24.1% of Kentuckian exports were imported by top importers in Europe (United Kingdom, France, Netherlands and Austria).
Another 13.3% worth went to leading trade partners in Asia (mainland China, Japan and Malaysia).
Kentuckian Export Companies
Nine of Kentucky-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Selected examples are shown below.
- Ashland Inc (chemicals, plastics)
- Brown-Forman Corp (whiskies, wine, other liquors)
- General Cable Corporation (copper/aluminum/fiber optic cables)
- Lexmark International (laser printers, imaging products)
- Tempur Sealy International (mattresses, bedding products)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business sells.
Kentucky’s capital is Frankfort, a city that was originally called “Frank’s Ford” due to its location at a Kentucky River crossing place.
See also Nevada’s Top 10 Exports, Idaho’s Top 10 Exports, Missouri’s Top 10 Exports, Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Exports and Mississippi’s Top 10 Exports
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FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on May 10, 2023
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International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on May 10, 2023
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on May 10, 2023
Statista, Real gross domestic product of Kentucky. Accessed on May 10, 2023
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