PROVIDENCE – Rhode Island saw exports fall 12.8 percent from a year earlier in January to $198.8 million, according to seasonally adjusted data from e-forecasting.com, as continued weakness in developed economies as well as slowing in the developing world dampened demand for Ocean State shipments.
Rhode Island’s performance stood in contrast to 2.3 percent growth in exports in the United States, which registered $133.8 billion in goods sent out of the country. The state’s decline also placed it 46th among the 50 states for export growth in January. Leading the way was Hawaii, which posted an increase of 88.7 percent year over year in January, while Oklahoma showed the largest decline, 29.5 percent. Massachusetts posted a January 2013 to January 2014 increase of 12.7 percent, placing it at No. 9 in the nation.
On the other hand, Rhode Island showed an 11.2 percent gain in exports in January when compared with December 2013, which eclipsed the 0.8 percent growth of the U.S. month over month (many economists have suggested that harsh winter weather has had a negative effect on the U.S. economy). The increase was driven by a 24.1 percent gain in non-manufactured goods to $79.2 million, which included agricultural goods, mining products and re-exports of foreign good that entered the state as imports and then were exported in roughly the same condition.
The report cited the February Institute of Supply Management as a reason to feel sanguine about the future of Rhode Island exports, as the nation’s purchasing agents reported being optimistic about the prospects of exporting goods, the 15th consecutive month that the ISM has reported growth in incoming export orders. Still, the rate of growth expected for February declined from what the survey indicated in January.