exports hit a record high in October, helping the growth of the U.S. economy and driving
down the trade deficit. This has been a
recurrent story over the last several years.
Export growth has played a large part in the nation’s recovery, accounting for 37 percent of U.S economic output
growth between 2009 and 2012. County
economies were part of this trend, as they are the fundamental blocks of
regional economies, states and the nation. Counties have actively contributed to the
success of U.S. exports by developing initiatives designed to help local
businesses increase their exports to international markets and create jobs in
their local economies.
county economies export, but their export profiles differ reflecting the
strengths of each county economy. Recent
data released by the Brookings Institution offers insight into the export
profiles of counties. While the bulk of 2012 U.S. exports — 48 percent — were produced
in large county economies, exports mattered more for small county
economies, being responsible for almost 20 percent of the economic output in these county economies. Businesses located in medium-sized counties
produced 42 percent of the manufacturing exports, while 62 percent of service exports came from large county economies.
have been proactive in helping their businesses export, grow and create jobs in
their communities. For example, Franklin
County, Ohio has an EcoPartnership with Hefei, China designed to foster the development of solutions to
environmental and energy challenges. The
partners will develop this exchange together with universities and the private
sector in their communities. In 2009,
Riverside County, Calif. created the Riverside County Office of Foreign Trade, part of the county’s economic development agency. The office
assists local businesses in their export and import activities with the
objective of creating new jobs and investment within the county. The county office has been very active in
reaching out to foreign trade partners; by 2013, the county had reached agreements with several countries, including Japan, Canada, Croatia and
Australia. The county is working on a
bilateral trade agreement with several African nations including Kenya.
NACo International Economic Development Task Force facilitates the dialogue on international economic
development initiatives among counties and with other stakeholders including
states, the private sector and the federal government. Counties are an important partner in the U.S.
efforts to grow exports and help local businesses create jobs at home.