Submitted by Taps Coogan on the 29th of August 2018 to The Sounding Line.
In light the current US administration’s attempts to renegotiate the US’s major international trading relations, the following map shows just how important international exports are to every county in the US.
From the Counties Future Lab, the following map shows the dollar value of intentional exports, their rate of growth, their percent of local GDP, and the number of jobs that they support for every county in the incorporated US. Blue indicates high levels of exports relative to GDP and tan represents lower levels. Click on a county to see specific data.
While international exports represent just under 12% of GDP for the overall US economy, a low number globally, certain county economies are as much as 67% dependent on exports. Generally speaking, the most export dependent counties in the US are major agricultural or energy producing areas. There are particularly high concentrations of very export dependent counties in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama, and Texas. A large portion of these counties voted for President Trump, making a successful outcome of trade negotiations economically important for these communities and politically vital for the current administration.
As we have noted on a number of occasions here on The Sounding Line, US exports face higher tariffs at essentially all major US trading partners than vice versa, lending credence to US demands for better market access around the world. While international trade is significantly less important to the overall US economy than it is for virtually all major US trading partners, individual counties in the US, particularly conservative voting counties, are very dependent on international exports. The US may be, in effect, more politically sensitive to outcomes on trade than economically sensitive, making the recent news of a breakthrough on NAFTA negotiations with Mexico all the more important.