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The Most Profitable Industry in Every U.S. State

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The Most Profitable Industry in Every U.S. State

The Most Profitable Industry in Every U.S. State

A glance the leading industries in the U.S. reveals a few surprises – and less diversity than you might think.

Today’s graphic from HowMuch.net uses data from GO Banking Rates and the U.S. Census Bureau to map out the most profitable industry in each U.S. State.

A Unique State Identity

While each U.S. state is unique in its cultural identity, the lay of the land determines which industries will thrive. Where some regions are ideal for agriculture, others have built a strong foundation of industry and research, and still others have established themselves as tourism hubs.

Whatever industry has staked its claim in your particular state, it has a direct link to your state exports and local economy.

It’s important to note that the most profitable industry is not necessarily the biggest industry in each state. The following figures are based on the value of top-selling industry products in 2017, using Harmonized System (HS) codes and U.S. Census Bureau data.

Rounding out the top five:

  1. Texas – Abundant oil supply helped the Lone Star State bring in more than $73 billion from mineral products last year.
  2. Washington – Despite a 9% drop from the previous year, aerospace still pulled in $42 billion for Washington state in 2017.
  3. California – Machinery and mechanical appliances lead the Golden State, to the tune of $27 billion.
  4. New York – Diamonds are New York’s best friend, where the precious metals and stones industry earned more than $25 billion in export sales.
  5. Louisiana – Its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico makes Louisiana a hub for mineral products, particularly oil. The industry raked in more than $23 billion in exports last year.

Diversify and Conquer

While some of these designations are nearly automatic – like fishing in Maine and Alaska – others are more surprising. Most surprising of all is the variety, or lack thereof: 50 states share a mere 11 major industries. When those industries are touched by market volatility or trade disruptions, it can prompt a ripple effect across several state economies.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of each state’s major industry, and the value of top-selling products last year:

StateMost Profitable IndustryValue of industry's top-selling products (2017)
AlabamaAutomotive$8 billion
AlaskaFishing$2.359 billion
ArizonaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$4.27 billion
ArkansasAerospace$1.5 billion
CaliforniaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$27 billion
ColoradoMeat$1 billion
ConnecticutAerospace$5.627 billion
DelawareAutomotive$858 million
FloridaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$7.576 billion
GeorgiaAerospace$6.694 billion
HawaiiAerospace$370 million
IdahoMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.309 billion
IllinoisMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$5.7 billion
IndianaAutomotive$7.526 billion
IowaMeat$1.324 billion
KansasAerospace$2.565 billion
KentuckyAerospace$11.649 billion
LouisianaMineral Products$23 billion
MaineFishing$431 million
MarylandAerospace$814 million
MassachusettsPrecision Instruments$3.2 billion
MichiganAutomotive$22.735 billion
MinnesotaPrecision Instruments$2.417 billion
MississippiMineral Products$3.076 billion
MissouriAutomotive$2.234 billion
MontanaMineral Products$256 million
NebraskaMeat$1.52 billion
NevadaAccommodation and Food Services$20 billion
New HampshireMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.685 billion
New JerseyPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$2.624 billion
New MexicoMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.835 billion
New YorkPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$25 billion
North CarolinaMedical$3.698 billion
North DakotaMineral Products$1.814 billion
OhioAutomotive$6 billion
OklahomaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.1 billion
OregonMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$10.125 billion
PennsylvaniaMineral Products$3.672 billion
Rhode IslandPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$670 million
South CarolinaAutomotive$10.107 billion
South DakotaMeat$223 million
TennesseePrecision Instruments$3.425 billion
TexasMineral Products$73 billion
UtahPrecious Metals, Stones, etc.$3.714 billion
VermontMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.6 billion
VirginiaMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.5 billion
WashingtonAerospace$42.163 billion
West VirginiaMineral Products$3.261 billion
WisconsinMachinery and Mechanical Appliances$1.538 billion
WyomingChemicals and Allied Industries$1.25 billion

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Maps

Mapped: The U.S. State that Each Country Trades With the Most

This map identifies the biggest U.S. export markets by state, showing the top partner of each country by value of goods imported.

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This map identifies the biggest export destinations for products from every U.S. state.

The U.S. State that Each Country Trades With the Most

The U.S. is the world’s second-largest exporter, just behind China. In 2022 alone, America exported some $2.1 trillion, accounting for 8.4% of global exports.

In this graphic by OnDeck, we show the U.S. state that each country receives the most exports from, using data from the U.S. International Trade Administration.

Texas is the Top Exporter

Texas is the leading U.S. exporter to major global economies. The state leads in 94 countries, including Canada, China, the U.K., and Germany. Texas is followed by California (25 countries) and Florida (24 countries).

State2023 Exports (Millions)
Texas$444,608
California$178,717
Louisiana$100,197
New York$97,828
Illinois$78,724
Unallocated$73,829
Florida$68,899
Michigan$64,904
Washington$61,209
Indiana$56,081
Ohio$55,764
Pennsylvania$52,876
Georgia$49,772
New Jersey$43,334
North Carolina$42,223
Kentucky$40,212
Tennessee$38,120
South Carolina$37,297
Massachusetts$35,221
Arizona$28,791
Wisconsin$28,021
Oregon$27,718
Alabama$27,447
Minnesota$24,920
Puerto Rico$22,493
Virginia$22,395
Iowa$18,439
Maryland$18,360
Missouri$17,858
Utah$17,388
Connecticut$15,825
Mississippi$14,305
Kansas$14,148
Colorado$10,378
Nevada$9,533
Nebraska$7,987
New Hampshire$7,638
North Dakota$7,520
Oklahoma$6,511
Arkansas$6,450
West Virginia$5,652
Alaska$5,244
New Mexico$4,940
Delaware$4,921
Idaho$4,011
Virgin Islands$3,403
Rhode Island$3,016
Maine$2,951
South Dakota$2,399
Montana$2,231
Wyoming$2,143
Vermont$1,991
District of Columbia$1,746
Hawaii$570

Exports from Texas to Mexico have an annual value of $144.29 billion—the highest value of exports from a U.S. state to any country. From this total, Texas exports $33.63 billion in Petroleum & Coal Products to Mexico yearly, the highest value of any single product category from a state to another country.

While oil-producing states like Texas, New Mexico, and North Dakota dominate America’s export market, other states have established unique trade relationships in some regions.

Michigan, for example, exports $15.37 billion in Transportation Equipment to Canada. These include passenger vehicles and trucks, as well as parts.

Australia imports $4.56 billion in goods from Illinois each year, more than from any other U.S. state.

New York State’s exports to Switzerland reached $23.56 billion in 2022. Over three-quarters of this trade is in the category of Primary Metal Manufactures, which includes upstream metal products such as closures, castings, pipes, tubes, wires, and springs.

Hong Kong also counts New York as the state from which it imports the most.

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