March 8, 2023

Since 2002, Texas Leads in Exports

What were you doing in 2002?

In Texas, the year was filled with milestones:

  • Dallas Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith broke the record for the most rushing yards by an NFL player.
  • U.S. Senator Phil Gramm of Texas retired from politics, ending a more than 20-year career as a lawmaker in Washington, D.C.
  • The University of Texas Longhorn baseball team won the College World Series.
  • Greg Abbott, now the state’s governor, began his tenure as Texas attorney general.

One 2002 milestone that you may not be aware of: Texas began its two-decade run as the top state for exports as measured by dollars. Data released recently by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) shows that in 2022, the Lone Star State notched its 21st year as the country’s export leader.

To be sure, that’s an impressive streak. Equally impressive is how dominant Texas remains in state-vs.-state export activity.

Texas racked up $485.6 billion in exports in 2022, far outpacing all other states, according to the BEA. In fact, Texas’ total nearly equaled the total for the next four states combined: $185.5 billion for California, $122.2 billion for Louisiana, $106.3 billion for New York and $78.2 billion for Illinois.

On top of that, Texas’ dollar total for exports in 2022 exceeded the 2021 total by 29%.

What drives Texas’ export power? Factors include a business-friendly regulatory environment, a low tax burden, a strong infrastructure and global logistics network, and a high level of collaboration among state and local economic development professionals.

Top exports from Texas include:

  • Oil and gas/petroleum products
  • Basic chemicals/resin, rubber and fibers
  • Semiconductors/computer equipment
  • Aerospace products
  • Motor vehicle parts

So, why does all of this matter to you, my fellow Texan?

Broadly speaking, the billions of dollars’ worth of exports from Texas propel economic growth and innovation. And it’s not just big corporations that benefit. In Texas, 93% of exporters are small businesses, which are the backbone of our state’s and nation’s economy.

And even if your business isn’t directly involved in exporting, it almost certainly owes at least some of its success to exports.

A prime example of this is Samsung, which operates a semiconductor plant in Austin. The South Korean company exports a lot of the semiconductors made in Texas, helping our state lead the nation in tech exports for the 10th consecutive year in 2022.

Samsung is also a major booster of Texas’s economy. In 2021 alone, the company generated an economic impact of $6.3 billion for the Austin area thanks to salaries for more than 3,300 employees and other expenditures. That spending ripples throughout the economies of the Austin area and the state, supporting nearly 10,000 jobs and producing more than $546 million in salaries.

Looking solely at Samsung’s salaries, those millions of dollars spur spending at local car dealerships, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, clothing stores and myriad other retail businesses. Across the state, retail spending in the second quarter of 2022 approached $146.5 billion.

Samsung’s contribution to our economy promises to grow substantially in the near future. The company is building a $17 billion semiconductor fabrication site in Taylor, northeast of Austin, that’s scheduled to be completed in 2024. The plant will directly employ more than 2,000 people and will indirectly create thousands more jobs.

“Samsung’s new semiconductor manufacturing facility in Taylor will bring countless opportunities for hardworking Central Texans and their families,” Governor Abbott says, “and will play a major role in our state’s continued exceptionalism in the semiconductor industry.”

So, mark your calendars now for another major Texas milestone in 2024 — the opening of Samsung’s manufacturing facility in Taylor. And prepare for another milestone to occur in 2024 — our state’s anticipated 23rd consecutive year as the top state for exports.

Just as Emmitt Smith smashed an NFL record in 2002, Texas is on track to keep smashing export records. In the field of exports, we keep rushing ahead.