New Hampshire’s red-hot economy is having an impact beyond the U.S. border as Granite State businesses set a new export record, outstripping the rest of the region by 400 percent.
The U.S. Census Bureau reported New Hampshire businesses exported $7.3 billion worth of goods and services in 2022, up nearly $1 billion from the year before. Among the state’s top exports were tech products like phones, microchips, and integrated circuits as well as aircraft parts and pharmaceuticals. Exports of pharma products jumped nearly 70 percent in a single year to $288 million, according to trade data.
“This is the first time New Hampshire surpassed the $7 billion mark on its export value, which illustrates globally the importance of, and the demand for, products made here,” said Taylor Caswell, commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Business and Economic Affairs (BEA). “It reflects the hard work our companies have done in securing new global markets following years of trade slowdowns due to disruptions from COVID-19.”
Michael Skelton, president and CEO of the Business & Industry Association, said the state’s record exports speak to the quality and capabilities of Granite State manufacturers.
“A robust manufacturing sector is vital and manufacturing offers well-paying careers that build individual prosperity,” Skelton said. “Expanding export markets strengthen our manufacturing companies and bring more opportunities.”
Skelton said the National Association of Manufacturers reported New Hampshire averages 70,000 manufacturing employees, more than 10 percent of the state’s workforce. BIA is the New Hampshire affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers.
For the past several years, Germany has been the Granite State’s top trading partner. But Canada returned to its historic spot at the top of the list in 2022. Germany dropped to second followed by Mexico, the United Arab Emirates, and Ireland.
New Hampshire’s export success comes at a time when American politicians are advocating more economic protectionism and subsidizing domestic production.
New Hampshire’s all-Democratic federal delegation aggressively supported the CHIPS Act, which spends more than $50 billion subsidizing the manufacture of high-tech microchips in the U.S. To qualify for the taxpayer-funded grants, however, companies must agree to hire union workers, build using more expensive U.S.-produced construction materials, and provide “affordable” daycare. The companies also have to agree to hand over part of their profits to the government if their facilities make more money than originally projected.
In his State of the Union address, Biden expanded his administration’s “Buy American” policy, requiring “all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America” with “American-made lumber, glass, drywall, fiber optic cables.”
Those policies encourage other nations to erect trade barriers of their own, making it harder for businesses in New Hampshire to sell goods in Norway, Nigeria, or the Netherlands economists say. For example, some of America’s closest allies are reportedly fuming over the nearly $400 billion in subsidies for America’s green tech industry in the so-called Inflation Reduction Act.
For the moment, however, the Granite State’s exports are growing, and at a rate significantly faster than the rest of New England.
“New Hampshire is the third largest exporter in New England, which, regionally saw an increase of 3.5 percent in 2022,” said Adam Boltik, program manager for BEA’s Office of International Commerce. “New Hampshire exports grew at nearly 14 percent over the same period, which outperforms the region.”
New Hampshire Governor — and possible GOP presidential candidate — Chris Sununu is thrilled.
“New Hampshire’s economy is booming with record exports — highlighting our pro-business, pro-worker agenda,” Sununu said Wednesday. “I encourage any business, small or large, to make the Granite State their home. We are open for business!”
Electrical machinery, which includes phones, radio transmitters, microchips, and insulated wires, surpassed industrial machinery as the state’s top export, increasing 14 percent from 2021 to $1.7 billion. After several years behind Germany, Canada returned to being New Hampshire’s top trading partner.
Exports of electronic integrated circuits (ICs), a crucial component for electronic devices and equipment, increased by 23 percent between 2021 and 2022 and were valued at $209 million last year.
“Demand for ICs has exceeded supply worldwide and New Hampshire companies have been able to help meet that demand,” Caswell said.
While exports remained strong for industrial machinery, which includes printing and automatic data machines, it dropped 2.7 percent from 2021 to $1.4 billion. The state’s third leading export last year was aircraft and aircraft parts, increasing 14 percent, to $1.3 billion. The exports of pharmaceuticals saw expansive growth in 2022, rising 70 percent, to $288 million, according to trade data.