Manufacturing Drives Kentucky’s Exports

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Did you know Kentucky exports steering wheels to China, rum to Russia and peanut butter to Saudi Arabia? Kentucky’s exports are at an all-time high, and manufacturing is a big reason why.

Last year, the Commonwealth exported a state-record $25.3 billion in goods and services to about 200 countries. So far this year, Kentucky’s exports are up nearly 10 percent. The U.S. average is about 3 percent.

“Manufacturing continues to drive Kentucky’s export success story,” said Gov. Steve Beshear. “Kentucky-made cars and trucks can be seen on the streets of Europe and Asia, and houseboats built on Lake Cumberland are cruising the waters of the Middle East. Kentucky’s products make the world better.”

In honor of October being National Manufacturing Month, the following are the top products Kentucky has exported so far this year:

 1. Aerospace products and parts ($4.9 billion)

2. Motor vehicles and parts ($3.7 billion)

3. Resins, synthetic rubbers and fibers ($943 million)

4. Pharmaceuticals and medicines ($709 million)

5. Basic chemicals ($513 million)

6. Navigational, measuring, electromedical and control instruments ($373 million)

7. Communications equipment ($298 million)

8. General purpose machinery ($291 million)

9. Plastics ($266 million)

10. Iron and steel ($263 million)

Kentucky’s strong network of trade partners has helped companies across the Commonwealth in reaching global markets and promoting the Kentucky brand. In 2010, Gov. Beshear created the Kentucky Export Initiative (KEI) to better facilitate international trade opportunities for Kentucky businesses. Since the KEI’s establishment, Kentucky exports have grown by 25 percent.

Kentucky is home to more than 4,000 manufacturers, representing 220,000 jobs. Last year alone, more than 200 manufacturers announced new locations or expansions in the state. These projects are expected to create nearly 7,500 jobs and $2.2 billion in new investment.

 For more information on Manufacturing Month, visit

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion on Facebook or follow on Twitter. Watch the Cabinet’s “This is My Kentucky” video on YouTube.


The Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development is the primary state agency in Kentucky responsible for encouraging new jobs and investment in the state. New capital investment announced in Kentucky in 2013 totaled more than $3.3 billion, spurring more than 14,000 projected new jobs. Information on available industrial properties, workforce development assistance, incentive programs, community profiles, small business development and other economic development resources is available

Kyndle would like to thank The Gleaner and Union County First for the use of images throughout this site.