Arkansas’ biggest export in 2020 was aircraft accounting for 19.7% of the state’s aggregated exports revenue. The state’s top 3 exports were aircraft including engines and other parts, milled rice and coniferous tree chemical woodpulp representing 27.8% of the state total. That percentage suggests a relatively concentrated range of exported goods albeit those 3 commodities themselves are relatively diversified.
Arkansas ranks among America’s 40 biggest exporters by state behind front-runners including Texas, California, New York and Louisiana. The value of Arkansas’ exports equals 0.4% of United States’ overall exported products for 2020.
Based on statistics from the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), exported products from Arkansas represent 4% of the state’s total economic output or real Gross Domestic Product in 2020 ($129.1 billion in current dollars based on BEA statistics), down from 4.7% in 2019.
Given Arkansas’ population of 3.033 million people, its total $5.2 billion in 2020 exports translates to roughly $1,700 for every resident in the Natural State.
Arkansas’ unemployment rate was 4.5% at February 2021, up from 3.8% one year earlier per YCharts.
Top 10 Exports from Arkansas
The following export products represent the highest dollar value in Arkansas global shipments during 2020. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Arkansas.
Figures are shown at the more granular six-digit Harmonized Tariff System code level, for more precise product identification.
- Aircraft including engines, parts: US$1 billion (19.7% of Arkansas’ total exports)
- Milled rice: $216 million (4.2%)
- Chemical woodpulp (coniferous): $202 million (3.9%)
- Eggs: $170 million (3.3%)
- Frozen poultry (cuts, offal): $156 million (3%)
- Paper, paperboard: $151 million (2.9%)
- Cotton (uncarded, uncombed): $132 million (2.5%)
- Bombs, grenades, mines, missiles: $131 million (2.5%)
- Vulcanized rubber plates, sheets: $83 million (1.6%)
- Self-propelled graders, levelers: $75 million (1.4%)
Arkansas’ top 10 exports accounted for 45% of the overall value of the state’s global shipments.
Weaponry including bombs, grenades, mines and missiles represent the fastest grower among the state’s top 10 export categories, accelerating by 114.8% from 2019 to 2020. In second place for improving export sales was uncarded and uncombed cotton via it 33.3% increase.
The leading decliners year over year among Arkansas’ top 10 export products were paper and paperboard (down -22.6%), coniferous tree chemical woodpulp (down -16.5%) and self-propeller heavy machinery graders and levelers (down -14.8%).
More Key Facts
Arkansas incurred an overall -$3.44 billion deficit exporting and importing products during 2020. That dollar amount reflects a 1.3% year-over-year increase from -$3.4 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 Arkansas’ top 10 import products highlighting the state’s highest spending on foreign-made goods in 2020.
- Large aircraft: $432 million (5% of Arkansas’ total imports)
- Medium-size aircraft: $345 million (4%)
- Small portable digital computers: $246 million (2.9%)
- Footwear (textile uppers): $244 million (2.8%)
- Footwear (rubber/plastic outer soles and uppers): $202 million (2.3%)
- Footwear (rubber/plastic outer soles but textile uppers): $175 million (2%)
- Unalloyed aluminum (unwrought): $112 million (1.3%)
- Bombs, grenades, mines, missiles: $110 million (1.3%)
- Miscellaneous textile articles: $108 million (1.2%)
- Sports footwear including for basketball, tennis: $93 million (1.1%)
Arkansas has negative net exports in the international trade of aircraft, footwear and small portable digital computers. In turn, these cashflows indicate Arkansas’ competitive disadvantages under those product categories.
The following list shows the top 10 customers that purchased approaching three-fifths (72.1%) worth of the total value of products exported from Arkansas during 2020.
- Canada: $1.1 billion (22.1% of Arkansas’ total exports)
- Mexico: $712 million (13.7%)
- France: $673 million (12.9%)
- China: $278 million (5.3%)
- Netherlands: $235 million (4.5%)
- Japan: $171 million (3.3%)
- United Kingdom: $168 million (3.2%)
- Brazil: $137 million (2.6%)
- Australia: $124 million (2.4%)
- Haiti: $107 million (2.1%)
Arkansas’ top trade partners in North America (Canada and Mexico) bought more than a third (35.8%) of the overall value of exported goods from the Natural State. In contrast, major trade partners in Europe (France, Netherlands, United Kingdom) purchased 20.6% worth.
Arkansas Export Companies
Eight Arkansas-based corporations rank among Fortune 1000 Companies, a list that showcases America’s largest businesses. Selected examples are listed below.
- ArcBest Corp (freight forwarding, transport logistics)
- Murphy Oil Corp (petroleum, natural gas)
- Windstream (voice/data network communications)
- J.B. Hunt (trucking, transport services)
- Tyson Foods (food processing, marketing)
Shown within brackets for each company is a summary of the international trade-related products or services which each business sells.
Arkansas’ capital is Little Rock, a city nicknamed “LR”, “Rock Town” and “The Rock”.
See also America’s Top 20 Export States, United States Top 10 Exports and Top United States Trade Balances
Department of Numbers, Arkansas GDP (dollars shown in real terms). Accessed on April 13, 2021
FlagPictures.org, Flags of US States. Accessed on April 13, 2021
Forbes, 2017 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on April 13, 2021
GeoLounge, Fortune 1000 Companies List for 2017 , Fortune 1000 by State and Place. Accessed on April 13, 2021
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on April 13, 2021
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on April 13, 2021
State Symbols USA, State Nicknames. Accessed on April 13, 2021
United States Census Bureau, Foreign Trade (State by 6-Digit HS Code). Accessed on April 13, 2021
United States Census Bureau, QuickFacts: Arkansas. Accessed on April 13, 2021
Wikipedia, Arkansas. Accessed on April 13, 2021
Wikipedia, List of Arkansas Companies. Accessed on April 13, 2021
Wikipedia, List of U.S. states and territories by GDP. Accessed on April 13, 2021
World’s Capital Cities, Capital Facts for Little Rock, United States. Accessed on April 13, 2021
YCharts, Regional and State Employment and Unemployment Report. Accessed on April 13, 2021