Most politicians, scholars and business people agree that exports are good for the United States and participating companies. But just how good has been difficult to determine. And the impact on U.S. workers has been questionable for some time.

Over the past few years, however, more data has been collected and analyzed. And the quantifiable results are very positive.

The Benefits Are Vast

It stands to reason that selling your products in more markets, located throughout the world, will not only raise your corporate sales figures, but spread the risk, should a particular country or region experience a period of slow or negative economic growth. But that’s not all.

According to the report, Why Exports Matter: More!, published by the Institute for International Economics and The Manufacturing Institute, “in U.S. plants that export, worker productivity is higher, jobs are compensated better and technologies are adopted more aggressively than among non-exporters.”

Exporting Plants Perform Better

The report contends that since the late 1980s, plants and firms that have sustained an export commitment, or that have initiated exports, experienced almost 20% faster employment growth than those that never exported or stopped exporting. Additionally, these plants and firms were 9% less likely to go out of business in an average year.

During the period of 1987 through 1992 (latest available statistics), employment at a typical plant fell 2.5%, while employment at exporting plants grew approximately 18%, indicating better corporate performance. In fact, the report states communities that hosted exporters benefited from a stable, growing high-performance workforce and tax base.

How Much More Do Workers Earn?

According to the Office of the Chief Economist at the Department of Commerce, workers in jobs supported directly by exports earn 20% more than the average national wage. Workers in high-technology jobs supported directly by exports receive 34% more. And workers in jobs supported both directly and indirectly by exports are paid 13% more.

This article appeared in October 1998. (NB)
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John Manzella
About The Author John Manzella [Full Bio]
John Manzella, founder of the ManzellaReport.com, is a world-recognized speaker, author of several books, and a nationally syndicated columnist on global business, emerging risks and economic trends. His latest book is Global America: Understanding Global and Economic Trends and How To Ensure Competitiveness.




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