July 17, 2007

Strengths and Weaknesses

SO AS I MENTIONED BELOW, the Commerce Department has a kick ass site for trade statistics. If you ever need a source for this type of data, the TradeStats Express engine is the way to go.

One of the neat things about the site is that it shows just what exactly we're exporting to the rest of the world in terms of real material goods. As readers know, our economy has been moving away from being based on making real material goods for quite some time. The American economy is roughly $13.2 trillion -- about 28 pc of the world total GDP -- and only about 20 pc of it is based on making stuff. About 79 pc is based on people performing services for other people, and the remaining 1 pc feed the other 99 pc.

Much of our industrial output is consumed domestically, of course, but we do send about $1 trillion in finished goods abroad every year. (Unfortunately, we're bringing in $1.8 trillion each year, but that's a story for another day). The figures, as far as I can tell, don't include products like software or similar goods that aren't really manufactures; but the numbers tell an interesting story.

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AMERICA'S EXPORTS as of 2006 (approximate)

Nuclear reactors, machinery, parts, boilers, etc.: $182 billion
Electric machinery, parts, etc.: $146 billion
Vehicles and parts (excluding rail cars): $92 billion
Aircraft, spacecraft and parts: $67 billion
Medical and surgical instruments: $43 billion
Plastics and related goods: $42 billion

.....

Furniture: $7.6 billion
Meat and edible meat offal: $6.6 billion
Fine art and antiques: $5.5 billion
Guns and ammunition: $2.9 billion
Chocolates and cocoa-based products: $896 million

.....

Fur, artificial fur, and related products: $287 million
Stuff made from cork: $70 million
Silk products: $56 million
Wickerware, woven baskets, etc.: $40 million
Umbrellas, riding crops, buggy whips: $17 million

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AND NOW FOR THE OTHER SIDE OF THINGS ...

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AMERICA'S IMPORTS as of 2006 (approximate)

Oil, oil, oil: $334 billion
Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and parts: $244 billion
Electric machinery, televisions, and so on: $229 billion
Vehicles: $215 billion
Surgical and medical instruments: $51 billion

.....

Wood, wood charcoal, wood articles: $23 billion
Shoes: $19 billion
Beverages, spirits, vinegar: $16 billion
Fish: $10.2 billion
Leather art, including purses: $9.5 billion
Perfumes: $7 billion

.....

Hats: $1.6 billion
Musical instruments: $1.4 billion
Wickerware, woven baskets, etc.: $452 million
Furs, natural and artificial, and manufactures: $392 million
Cork products: $223 million

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at July 17, 2007 12:20 AM | TrackBack
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