Study Reveals 1 In 5 Florida Jobs Supported By International Trade

A recent study revealed that one in five Florida jobs are supported by international trade, including exports and imports.

The raw number of jobs supported was close to 2.4 million, with these trade-related jobs growing “three times faster than total employment from 1992 to 2017.”

The Business Roundtable study highlights that Florida’s future economic growth will rely heavily on international trade, which the Sunshine State has embraced. For example, Florida’s exports have grown more than 40 percent faster than state GDP since 2007.

In 2017, Florida exported almost $53 billion in goods and over $43 billion in services to customers in 222 countries and territories, placing Florida among the top 5 state exporters in 38 industries.

Even though the Sunshine State is America’s largest exporter of greenhouse and nursery products, in 2017, the top goods exports were aerospace products and parts at $7.0 billion and the top services exports were travel at $15.1 billion. Soaps, cleaning agents and toiletries is one of the state’s fastest growing categories, increasing by 112 percent since 2007.

Over $20 billion of the state’s exports went to free trade agreement partners, which is a 19 percent increase since 2007.

Business Roundtable has pointed specifically to the impact that trade with Canada and Mexico has on Florida, showcasing their support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

“Trade with Canada and Mexico alone supports 750,400 jobs in Florida, highlighting the need to preserve and strengthen the North American trading relationship by passing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement this year. Exports from Florida to Canada and Mexico have increased by 195 percent since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement,” Business Roundtable wrote in a release.

Joshua Bolten, Business Roundtable’s president and CEO, even penned a letter to the Trump administration voicing concerns over immigration policies that could “significantly slow commerce at the U.S.-Mexico border” and “harm American workers, businesses, farmers and consumers.”

“According to a recently released Business Roundtable study, nearly 5 million American jobs depend on two-way trade with Mexico. Last year, the U.S. and Mexico traded over $610 billion in goods. Over $1.5 billion in goods cross the U.S.-Mexico border every day, with the vast majority crossing through U.S. land ports of entry,” he wrote. “Shutting down the U.S-Mexico border or slowing cross-border trade would severely damage the operations of American businesses and hurt American workers. Closing the border would back up thousands of trucks, impact billions of dollars of goods each day, cripple supply chains and stall U.S. manufacturing and business activity.”

Any issues on the borders, whether with Mexico or Canada, would certainly impact Florida’s exporters, with 95 percent of them being small- and medium-sized companies with less than 500 workers. Export-dependent industries pay about 16 percent more and exporting plants also are less likely to go out of business.

As for imports, the study pointed to the importance it has on keeping prices down. For example, the prices of televisions and computers have dropped 87.9 percent and 63.3 percent, respectively, over a 10 year period.

The study also noted that “trade and investment liberalization policies save the average Florida family of four more than $10,000 per year.”