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How are we doing? – State exporting more

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[Editor’s note: The N.C. Progress Board, a group created by state lawmakers to track trends in North Carolina and set goals for the state, issued its first report in December 2001.

[Each week, the Philanthropy Journal spotlights an issue examined in the report. The goals, targets and analysis below are those of the Progress Board.]

GOAL: North Carolina promotes the expansion of international markets and facilitates access to foreign capital and commerce.

North Carolina dramatically increased global trade in the 1990s.

From 1993 to 1999, state exports grew nearly 68 percent to $17.9 billion.

North Carolina also became a preferred site for foreign investment, which by 1997 generated 225,000 jobs, or 7.5 percent of total private industry employment – third-highest percentage in the U.S.

In 1998, North Carolina had 738 foreign-owned firms from 35 countries, about 75 percent of which were located in larger metro areas.

TARGET: North Carolina will be a leader in global trade, ranking among the top 10 states in merchandise exports as a percentage of State Gross Product.

International exports reflect the level of North Carolina’s integration into the global economy.  While export activity has increased dramatically, the state continues to fall short of the national average in export intensity — the ratio of exports to State Gross Product.

MEASURE: U.S. rank in merchandise exports as a percent of State Gross Product.

In 1997, North Carolina’s export intensity was 6 percent, compared to the U.S. export intensity of 7.6 percent, according to the N.C. Innovation Index 2000 from the N.C. Board of Science and Technology. North Carolina ranked 25th in the U.S. in export intensity.

TARGET: North Carolina will rank among the top 10 states in the percentage of jobs in export-oriented industries.

Workers employed in export-oriented firms earn roughly 10 percent more than those in other firms.

MEASURE: U.S. rank in percentage of jobs in export-oriented industries.

In 2000, the U.S. ranked 37th, according to 1992 census data from the State New Economy Index.

TARGET: North Carolina will be a leader in foreign investment, ranking in the top 10 states in foreign direct investment. 

In 1998, Site Selection magazine ranked North Carolina 1st in the U.S. for foreign-owned business location.

However, our national ranking in the percentage of workers employed by foreign firms, an important measure of the degree of foreign direct investment in our state, shows signs of slipping.

MEASURE: U.S. rank in foreign direct investment.

In 1998, the U.S. ranked 14th in foreign direct investment, up from 3rd in 1997, according to the Economic Development Information System from the N.C. Department of Commerce.

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