As reluctant as the national media may be to admit it, ordinary American employees and employers across the country are continuing to go about their business in more or less their normal way even as Washington, D.C., remains deadlocked over federal spending and debt limits. Simply by trying to help their own businesses be more successful, tens of millions of employees and millions of business owners and managers are contributing greatly to the future prosperity of our country.
And one increasingly important way in which businesses expand is by increasing their sales abroad. As urban-affairs writer Aaron Renn pointed out late last week in a commentary for the newgeography.com web site (see the link below), boosting exports is almost universally recognized as critical for creating new jobs and increasing wages, salaries and benefits as the U.S. experiences historically slow population growth:
The [vast majority] of world population and economic growth is outside the United States. McKinsey [that is, the eminent business consulting firm McKinsey & Co.] estimates that there will be an additional one billion people added to the global “consuming class” by 2025. An economy focused solely on a domestic American or North American market is missing a huge part of the addressable market, dooming it to slower growth.
Which regions of the U.S. are best taking advantage of their export opportunities? As Renn goes on to note, the U.S. Commerce Department “recently released foreign export totals by metropolitan area for 2012,” and this data series “goes back to 2005.”
Renn’s analysis shows that there was “extremely wide variability in the growth rates of exports among metro areas.” Eight of the top nine (San Antonio, Texas; New Orleans, La.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Houston, Texas; Las Vegas, Nev.; Birmingham, Ala.; Raleigh, N.C.; Miami, Fla.) are located entirely within a Right to Work state. The sole exception is Washington, D.C., whose metropolitan area is actually located largely in Right to Work Virginia.