Exports from Michigan slowed down in April

July 2, 2010
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Evidence on international business flows from around the world for the first quarter of 2010 indicates that global trade is recovering from its deepest slump since WWII. Worldwide exports — a measure of global trade as one’s exports are someone else’s imports — totaled $2.5 trillion, the highest quarterly level since the third quarter of 2008.

Most important, at their latest quarterly reading, worldwide exports have jumped three-fourths of a trillion, or an impressive 27 percent, from the first quarter of 2009, when global trade fell to its lowest level during the global recession.

Like any nation around the globe, Michigan's economy suffered substantial reduction in business activity during the recession, with big job losses in all industries including those that rely on selling their goods abroad.

The industries that first calmed down from the recession’s freefall, and then began to show rapid recovery with needs for hiring again, were those where a major part of their sales is generated by foreign sales. The pace of upturn in foreign demand has been a lot faster than the recovery in domestic demand at home.

The latest snapshot of the state’s trade numbers shows exports of goods made in the Wolverine State dropped by 4.6 percent in April, following a decrease of 0.4 percent in March. Michigan's exporting companies sold abroad $3,725.0 million in goods, adjusted for seasonal variation — a statistical technique that smoothes out monthly fluctuations for factors such as the number of days in a month and holidays, thus making state monthly trade indicators comparative to the national numbers.

Were Michigan's companies selling goods overseas better off in April of this year than a year ago? State exporters surpassed their previous year’s monthly volume by $1,252.5 million, or 50.7 percent.

Foreign shipments from Michigan's manufacturers led April’s exports, accounting for 88 percent of all state sales abroad. In April, exports of manufactures decreased 1.7 percent from March to $3,276.2 million, seasonally adjusted.

For the nation, exports of goods fell 1.1 percent in April to $104.0 billion, adjusted for seasonality. 

Evangelos Simos is chief economist of the consulting and research firm e-forecasting.com. Simos may be reached at eosimos@infometrica.com

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