ALBANY The Public Policy Institute reported today that merchandise exports from New York now total over $53 billion a year, up almost 30 percent in three years. Export-related production is the primary source of new jobs in the state's manufacturing sectorbut this sector is not growing as rapidly as in most competitor states.
The Institute, the research affiliate of The Business Council of New York State, Inc., presented an analysis of manufacturing exports from New York to a joint hearing held by the state Assembly's Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry, and its Committee on Small Business.
The report, Going Global, is the first overview of New York's manufacturing exports published in at least five years. It found that export-related jobs have been bucking the overall decline in manufacturing in New York.
The state gained 14,500 export-related manufacturing jobs between 1992 and 1996, the report said, even as the rest of its manufacturing sector was losing more than 100,000 jobs. The state's overall gain in manufacturing jobs in the past year, the report said, was driven entirely by growth in export-intensive industries.
The state's total employment dependent on manufacturing exports was 382,700 as of 1996, the report said. New York's merchandise exports ranked third among all the states in 1997, at $53.57 billion. That total represented a 28.6 percent increase over 1994, according to adjusted figures from the U.S. Census Bureau's "exporter locator" data series.
But New York's growth in merchandise exports was slightly behind the national averageand some major competing states, including Texas, Illinois and California, experienced export growth of over 40 percent during that period.
The Assembly committees, chaired by Robin Schimminger (D-Erie) and Joseph Morelle (D-Monroe), called the special legislative hearing to consider the impact of the Asian financial crisis on exporting, as well as the opportunities and barriers U.S. companies face in seeking to do business overseas.
David Shaffer, president of the Public Policy Institute, said the report's findings offer a reminder that federal trade policies are an important state issue for New York.
"Trade is very important to our economy," Shaffer said. "That means we can't just take it for granted. If we want New York's export economy to reach its potential, we have to press Washington to pursue an effective free-trade, fair-trade agenda around the world."
He added that New York must continue to improve its own business climate, for manufacturers in particular, if it is to capture its share of the nation's export growth.
A Federal Reserve study in 1996 found that New York has "high non-labor costs" in the manufacturing sector, and suggested this may be the reason its growth in exports is lagging behind the competition.
The Institute's study also reported that:
- The New York City metropolitan area (including Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties) accounts for about half the state's merchandise exports, but its exports declined slightly between 1993 and 1996.
- The Rochester area is second in terms of exports, up 39 percent over three years.
- Long Island is third, up 31 percent from 1993 to 1996. Buffalo-Niagara Falls is fourth, up 99 percent over those yearsa reflection, in large part, of increased trade with Canada.
- Canada is the largest market for New York exports, at $11.7 billion in 1997, up almost 45 percent from 1994.
- New York's exports to Mexico are up 37 percent, or $576 million, since the adoption of the North American Free Trade Agreement, and Mexico has moved up to fifth place as a destination for New York exports.
- Manufacturing export employment in New York increased from 171,000 to 185,500 jobs between 1992 and 1996. Including service-sector jobs dependent upon export manufacturing, the total job count related to manufacturing exports rose from 352,700 to 382,700.
- Two-thirds of New York's mercandise exports fall into one of just seven strategically vital categories: industrial machinery and computer equipment; primary metal industries; transportation equipment; instruments and related products; electronic and electric equipment; miscellaneous manufacturing, and chemicals.
The Business Council is New York's largest broad-based business group, representing over 4,000 member companies large and small across the state. Based in Albany, it lobbies for a better business climate, and offers cost-cutting services to its members.