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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

September 22, 2008 at 9:00 PM

Tech exports up in Idaho, down in Oregon, flat in Washington

A mixed bag for Northwest exports of manufactured high-technology products, according to a new Cyberstates report from AeA that’s coming out Tuesday.

Nationally, exports of tech products declined 3 percent from 2006 to 2007, to $214 billion. Imports increased 3 percent to $333 billion, resulting in a $118 billion high-tech trade deficit, according to the report.

Washington’s exports of manufactured tech products grew $43 million to $3 billion, a 1.4 percent change. The state ranks 20th nationally, but the industry supports 12,400 jobs here.

High-tech products manufactured in the state include industrial electronics, computer equipment, semiconductors, electromedical equipment and communications equipment. Such products amount to about 5 percent of Washington’s total exports, worth $66.4 billion last year.

“When most people think of Washington’s high-tech economy they think of one thing: software,” J.D. Hammerly, president of The Glarus Group and chairman of AeA’s Washington Council, said in the announcement. “But tech manufacturing exports from Washington have been steadily growing for five straight years.”

Oregon’s a bigger exporter of manufactured tech products, largely because of its huge semiconductor business. It shipped out $6.5 billion last year and ranking 8th nationally. But its exports fell $385 million, or 5.6 percent, after growing since 2004.

Semiconductors are also big in Idaho, where the AeA report said high-tech products accounted for 70 percent of the state’s total exports last year. Tech exports totaled $3.3 billion, up $695 million or 27 percent. Semiconductors accounted for $2.8 billion of the total.

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