Aerospace is Kentucky's top export category.
Aerospace is Kentucky’s top export category.

Even as exports sag in the rest of the country, Kentucky’s continue to climb.

The state Cabinet for Economic Development announced Wednesday morning that exports rose 11 percent for the first quarter of this year compared to the same time in 2014, ranking No. 3 nationally by that metric. Over the same period, exports nationally dropped 5 percent.

Kentucky exported more than $7 billion in products during Q1 2015 versus $6.4 billion a year prior. The top trade partners were Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico and France. Exports to Belgium rose 116 percent, and Russian exports rose 2,400 percent.

The state has continued to see a rise in exports with a heavy focus on tech and manufacturing. Aerospace was Kentucky’s biggest export in the first quarter, while motor vehicles and parts also posted a strong showing, up 28 percent. Chemicals (up 66 percent) and engines, turbines, and power equipment (up 47 percent) also boosted overall export figures. And cattle exports shot up a dramatic 3,400 percent.

“While other parts of the country are seeing a decline in exports, Kentucky is shipping products around the world more than ever,” said Economic Development Secretary Larry Hayes in a statement. “This is another strong sign that Kentucky’s economy is strong, and continues to grow.”

Gov. Steve Beshear is scheduled to lead a trade mission to Canada next week. The administration says the trip will allow “nearly a dozen Kentucky companies to build relationships and enter the Canadian marketplace.”

David Serchuk is a staff writer at Insider Louisville. He is a former editor at Forbes.com, and an ex-reporter at Forbes magazine. He's written for NPR, CNBC.com, New York, Pittsburgh, Louisville and other publications named for places. He enjoys writing about business, music and other things as well.


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