When President Barack Obama was in North Carolina recently to announce a new innovation lab at N.C. State University, he mentioned the importance of exports to a prospering economy. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden outlines how are we doing in this aspect of international trade.
“We have actually been doing quite well. Exports have been a fairly bright sign, a bright piece of our economy, for several years. We’ve actually seen exports grow in our economy faster than imports are growing. So the trade deficit has been going down.
“I think big reasons behind that improvement in exports are more moderate labor costs in our country compared to other countries. Also declining energy costs have been a big factor. I think one way to look at exports is they are sort of gravy for the economy, because you are really bringing in new money and new resources.
“Now, I don’t think we should think that all we need to do is export and we should run our imports at zero: I would never say that, and I think most economists wouldn’t, because in many cases an imported product — some product or service that might be produced in another country — not might be the best fit for a person or for a business.
“But we do keep track of these statistics, and, again, this is a good news piece for the economy — the fact that exports are growing up and trade deficit is going down.”