Press Release: Gov. Evers, WEDC Highlight Trade Data Report Showing Wisconsin's Continued Economic Rebound

Office of Governor Tony Evers
Gov. Evers, WEDC Highlight Trade Data Report Showing Wisconsin's Continued Economic Rebound
Exports continue to bounce back strong in first six months of 2021, state sees a more than 18 percent growth compared to 2020 
MADISON — Gov. Tony Evers, together with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), today highlighted the Wisconsin Trade Data Report showing Wisconsin businesses exported more than $11.5 billion in products around the world from January to June 2021. This is an 18.41 percent growth over the same period in 2020 and was fueled primarily by industrial machinery sales.

The announcement today continues a series of good news for Wisconsin’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, as Wisconsin has continued seeing economic rebounds. The state’s July unemployment rate—3.9 percent—has remained steady since April and is among the lowest in the nation, nearly returning to pre-pandemic levels. The news today also comes after earlier this summer, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau released projections showing ‘unprecedented’ revenue projections more than $4.4 billion higher than January estimates. Additionally, Wisconsin continues to be a leader in getting shots in arms at only second in the Midwest
for percentage of the population fully vaccinated.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to put our state and economy in the best position to recover from this pandemic. My top priority all along has been making sure our businesses, communities, and state economy can rebound, and we’ve been working all along to make sure they have the support and resources they need to get through COVID-19 and come out on the other side stronger,” said Gov. Evers. “Today’s news continues to underscore what Wisconsinites have already known for years—Wisconsin is resilient. From having one of the lowest unemployment levels in the country to the growth in our trade exports this year, this is great news for our state’s economic recovery.”

The Wisconsin Trade Data Report is compiled by WEDC using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the World Institute for Strategic Economic Research (WISER). Overall, the report shows that total U.S. exports grew 23.14 percent through the end of June when compared to the same timeframe last year. Wisconsin ranks 21st among the 50 states in exports.

As the state’s lead economic development agency, WEDC is charged with helping Wisconsin companies connect to consumers and suppliers around the world. The agency has created and hosted 38 in-person trade ventures or missions since 2012. During the COVID-19 pandemic, trade ventures continued with five being conducted virtually. WEDC also runs the popular ExporTech program with the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing and Productivity (WCMP) offering training and support to Wisconsin businesses looking to make the leap into global markets.

“From large manufacturers to family farms, all of us work in a global economy,” said Missy Hughes, WEDC secretary and CEO. “WEDC staff work hard to make sure Wisconsin businesses can make global connections and succeed everywhere.”

Trade highlights January-June 2021:

Industrial machinery—a category that includes everything from tractors and heaters to machine tools and computers—is Wisconsin’s largest export category making up 24 percent of all the state’s exports and worth nearly $2.8 billion.

Exports of harvesting machinery led the way for the category nearly doubling with a 97.68 percent increase over 2020. Shipments of harvesting equipment to Canada nearly quadrupled during the first six months of 2021 with a 389.58 percent increase over the same period in 2020.

The state’s top five export categories are industrial machinery, medical and scientific instruments, electrical machinery, transportation equipment and plastics. Agricultural and food products are broken down into different subcategories but if they were compiled together, Wisconsin’s agricultural and food product exports would have grown 21.2 percent this year when compared over the same period in 2020. The exports would be worth about $1.9 billion, putting agricultural and food products second only to industrial machinery for Wisconsin exports.

Vehicles and parts exports increased by the greatest dollar volume at more than $308 million or a nearly 54 percent increase.

Canada is the top destination for Wisconsin’s exports with nearly $3.6 billion in sales over the first six months of 2021. That’s an increase of 23 percent over the same period last year.

About 42 percent of Wisconsin’s exports went to North America during the first six months of 2021. Just over one quarter of the state’s imports came from Canada and Mexico while China supplies just more than 20 percent of the goods Wisconsin imports. The state’s imports also grew by nearly 38 percent and totaled $16.7 billion from January to June 2021.