Trade in the U.S., Eighth District by Commodity

April 28, 2016
trade by commodity for the us and the eighth district
Thinkstock/Felipe Dupouy

The Eighth Federal Reserve District1 is pretty similar to the U.S. as a whole in the types of commodities it trades, according to an article in The Regional Economist. However, trade patterns vary quite a bit within the District.

Economist Maximiliano Dvorkin and Senior Research Associate Hannah Shell examined both imports and exports of major commodities for 2014.2 (The authors also examined trade by major partner, which was covered in a previous blog post.)

Computer and Electronic Products

They found that the largest import category for both the U.S. and the Eighth District was computer and electronic products. The U.S. imported $1,147 per capita, while District states imported $1,160 per capita. Tennessee imported the largest amount among District states at $3,156 per capita, while Arkansas imported the least at $142 per capita.

District states exported less computer and electronic products than the U.S. as a whole ($374 per capita for the District versus $656 per capita for the nation). The authors noted: “This may reflect the fact that the computer and electronics industry is not as important in the District, in terms of value added or economic activity, as in the nation.”

Transportation Equipment

Transportation equipment was the second-largest import commodity for both the nation ($1,116 per capita) and the District ($1,018 per capita). Among District states, Kentucky imported the most ($1,950 per capita), while Missouri imported the least ($433 per capita).

Regarding exports, transportation equipment was the largest category for District states as a whole, at $1,139 per capita, and higher than the U.S. as a whole, at $858 per capita. Kentucky exported far more transportation equipment than other District states, at $3,118 per capita. Mississippi exported the least at $323 per capita. (A more thorough breakdown of imports and exports by major commodity and District state is available in The Regional Economist article “District’s Patterns in Imports and Exports Sometimes Differ from Nation’s.”)


Dvorkin and Shell concluded: “The most-traded commodities in the District states came from industries with a large share of value added, with the exception of computers and electronics. This implies that, for the most part, the patterns of international trade were linked to industries with a high level of economic activity in the District.”

Notes and References

1 The Eighth District includes all of Arkansas and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. For this article, entire states were considered, not just the portions of states belonging to the Eighth District. Also, the numbers for the District as a whole are averages among all District states.

2 The authors used data from the Census Bureau’s Foreign Trade Statistics.

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