Pennsylvania is among America’s 10 biggest exporters by state behind front-runners including Texas, California, New York and Washington state. The value of Pennsylvania’s exports equals 2.6% of United States’ overall exported products for 2020.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), Pennsylvania’s exported products represent 4.8% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2020 ($780.2 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics).
Given Pennsylvania’s population of 12.804 million people, its total $37.5 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $2,900 for every resident in the Quaker State.
Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate was 7.3% in February 2021, up from 4.7% at February 2020 per YCharts.
Pennsylvania’s Top 10 Exports
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Pennsylvania global shipments during 2020. 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.
- Miscellaneous medications: US$1.5 billion (4% of Pennsylvania’s total exports)
- Liquified propane: $1.2 billion (3.3%)
- Coal (non-agglomerated, bituminous) $1.2 billion (3.2%)
- Human-use vaccines: $965 million (2.6%)
- Palladium (unwrought or in powder form): $825 million (2.2%)
- Precious metal compounds: $635 million (1.7%)
- Immunological goods for retail sale: $554 million (1.5%)
- Aircraft including engines, parts: $501 million (1.3%)
- Ozone, oxygen or aerosol therapy: $499 million (1.3%)
- Cell phones: $395 million (1.1%)
Pennsylvania’s top 10 exports accounted for 22.2% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Four among the above top exports increased in revenue from 2019 to 2020 namely precious metal compounds (up 39.6%), palladium that is either unwrought or in powder form (up 24.8%), ozone, oxygen or aerosol therapy (up 8%) and miscellaneous medications (up 1.1%).
The leading decliner among Pennsylvania’s top 10 export products were coal, in both non-agglomerated and bituminous forms. Pennsylvania’s exported coal fell by -52.6% year over year.
More Key Facts
Overall, Pennsylvania incurred a -$47.3 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 0.3% year-over-year increase from -$47.2 billion in red ink for 2019.
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 2020.
- Miscellaneous medications: $12.5 billion (14.7% of Pennsylvania’s total imports)
- Human-use vaccines: $4.6 billion (5.4%)
- Cell phones: $2.65 billion (3.1%)
- Immunological products in measured doses: $2.6 billion (3.1%)
- Mid-sized automobiles (piston engine): $2.58 billion (3%)
- Small portable digital computers: $1.8 billion (2.1%)
- Crude petroleum oils: $1.6 billion (1.9%)
- Modems, similar reception/transmission devices: $1.5 billion (1.7%)
- Rhodium (unwrought or in powder form): $1 billion (1.2%)
- Palladium (unwrought or in powder form): $754 million (0.9%)
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 purchase 70.1% worth of the total value of products exported from Pennsylvania during 2020.
- Canada $9.7 billion (25.9% of Pennsylvania’s total exports)
- Mexico $3.8 billion (10.2%)
- China $2.7 billion (7.3%)
- United Kingdom $2.3 billion (6.1%)
- Japan $1.7 billion (4.5%)
- Germany $1.5 billion (4%)
- Netherlands $1.3 billion (3.5%)
- India $10 billion (2.7%)
- Belgium $919 million (2.5%)
- Switzerland $779 million (2.1%)
Pennsylvania’s top trade partners in North America, Canada and Mexico, account for 36.1% of the overall value of the state’s exported goods. That percentage compares to 14.5% for Asia’s leading importers (China, Japan, India) 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
Department of Numbers, Pennsylvania GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on April 5, 2021
FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on April 5, 2021
Forbes, 2016 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 5, 2021
GeoLounge, Fortune 1000 Companies List, Fortune 1000 by State and Place. Accessed on April 5, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 5, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 5, 2021
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on April 5, 2021
United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Pennsylvania. Accessed on April 5, 2021
Wikipedia, Category:Companies based in Pennsylvania. Accessed on April 5, 2021
Wikipedia, List of U.S. states and territories by GDP. Accessed on April 5, 2021
Wikipedia, Pennsylvania. Accessed on April 5, 2021
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Harrisburg, United States. Accessed on April 5, 2021
YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on April 5, 2021