Have West Virginia exports been on fire recently? A tweet by the West Virginia Republican Party suggests so.
In an April 2 tweet, the state party said, "West Virginia’s exports increased for the second year in a row in 2018, reaching $8.1 billion. Additionally, West Virginia’s export growth rate was 14.2%, nearly double the national average of 7.6%."
Did West Virginia really outpace the national average of export growth rates?
Caitlin Ashley-Lizarraga, an international trade specialist at the West Virginia Department of Commerce, pointed us to detailed Census Bureau data collected by a private-sector subscription database, the Global Trade Atlas.
The table shows that West Virginia did indeed export $8.1 billion to the rest of the world in 2018, and that represented a 14.2% increase over the export total for 2017.
The increase for the nation as a whole was a little over half that -- 7.6%.
We were able to replicate this data using the Census Bureau’s own USA Trade Online data portal.
While the export growth in West Virginia was strong between 2017 and 2018, it’s worth noting that this expansion came from a small base.
In fact, West Virginia ranks thirteenth from the bottom in total exports for 2018. The states ranking below West Virginia are Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.
The West Virginia Republican Party tweeted, "West Virginia’s exports increased for the second year in a row in 2018, reaching $8.1 billion. Additionally, West Virginia’s export growth rate was 14.2%, nearly double the national average of 7.6%."
The data, which we verified with a U.S. Census Bureau database, supports what the tweet said. We rate the statement True.