Energy pushes Texas exports to highest value ever

HOUSTON —  Fueled by the rapid expansion of the oil and gas industry, Texas exports reached their highest value in history in 2013, jumping 5.6 percent over the previous year, according to new federal data.

Texas is by far the nation’s largest exporter, moving $279.7 billion in merchandise from its borders last year. Nearly 39 percent of that value came from exports of petroleum and coal products and chemicals, according to the Commerce Department data.

The Houston-Baytown region — which recently topped New York City to become the leading region for international exports — was the origin for nearly 40 percent of the all Texas exports.

Over the decade, the value of the state’s petroleum and coal product exports has soared from $4.7 billion to $60.9 billion.

The growth has had a significant effect on the nation’s trade deficit. Last year, the United States reduced its crude oil imports by more than 9 percent to 2.8 billion barrels, the lowest volume since 1995.

Still, petroleum represented nearly half of nation’s trade deficit in goods and services in 2013.

National growth

In total, the United States exported $2.3 trillion in goods and services, the highest value ever.

Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker said, in a written statement, that 5,000 U.S. jobs are supported for  every $1 billion in exports.

“These export numbers show that for more and more American companies, selling internationally is critical to growing their businesses and strengthening our economy,” Pritzker said.

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