Export Boom Predicted for Oklahoma

By Knapaschaefer, Johanna | THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 21, 1989 | Go to article overview

Export Boom Predicted for Oklahoma


Knapaschaefer, Johanna, THE JOURNAL RECORD


The early 1990s should witness a boom in export activity for Oklahoma, predicted Oklahoma State University economics professor Gerald Lage.

Lage predicted a 20 percent to 30 percent increase in the state's exports within the next five years. The percentage of export-related production could grow to 12 or 13 percent of Oklahoma's overall production by the mid-1990s with export-related employment creeping behind it, he predicts.

Total Oklahoma exports for 1986 were $1.396 billion, including $311 million agricultural and $1.085 billion manufactured goods.

Presently, nearly 10 percent of the Oklahoma's manufactured production and 12 percent of employment can be tied to foreign markets, Lage said. Nationally, 13 percent of manufactured production is export related.

"As long as we stay competitive in our state industries, we ought to be able to benefit from the national growth in export activity."

"Employment doesn't grow very fast," he said.

His analysis is included in a business and economic research report he wrote titled "Oklahoma Exports 1986." It is based on the latest figures available.

Foreign markets will play a significant role in the future growth and vitality of state and national agriculture commodity and high-value product sectors, Lage said.

"Increasing our ability to compete with other nations on price, quality, delivery and certainty of supplies for both traditional and new products must be a high priority for U.S. and Oklahoma agriculture."

Oklahoma ranked among the top 10 states only in sales of wheat, cotton and tree nuts, according to the report. Oklahoma commodities produced and exported at rates higher than the national average were wheat, cotton, peanuts and livestock. These products accounted for nearly all the growth in Oklahoma's product sales, with the exception of wheat.

Oklahoma's growth from export-related activity should come as a result of a significant turn-around and boom in U.S. exports sales, which began in 1987, he said.

Oklahoma manufacturers sold about $1.1 billion in direct international sales of products to foreign buyers in 1986, compared to $1.4 billion in 1985 and 1.2 billion in 1984, according to the report. Another $1.1 billion of related manufacturing shipments brought the aggregate value of manufacturing output related to exports to $2.2 billion.

Three percent of the Oklahoma civilian labor force was employed in export-related activity, compared to 4.1 percent nationally, the report noted.

Oklahoma ranked 32nd in trade performance compared to other states in the country. That translates into 9,500 people working on direct exports, 9,800 in supporting manufacturing production and 26,700 in non-manufacturing support activities related to exports.

Total export-related employment in manufacturing was much closer to the national average than export-related production, the report noted. This was possibly due to intersectoral purchases of intermediate products and components, which contributed to the dominant machinery category. …

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