Connecticut commodity exports fell 15% to $13.8 billion in 2020, after hitting $16.24 billion the previous year.

The June issue of the Connecticut Economic Digest, produced by the state Department of Labor and the Department of Economic and Community Development, points to COVID-19 disruptions for the fall in exports.

"COVID-19 had far-reaching impacts on commerce in 2020, resulting in economic disruptions, production issues, and reductions in supply and demand," the digest noted.

"Consumer demand sharply increased for particular goods, while others experienced dramatic drops. Extraordinary levels of uncertainty caused consumers to hold off on big ticket purchases and durables.

"As the virus spread along trade and travel routes, COVID-19 drove large international trade declines and disrupted everything as lockdowns and slowed border crossings led to supply chain disruptions and increased trade costs."

Pharmaceuticals Surge

All but one of the state's state export sectors saw declines last year—with pharmaceuticals the exception, as exports of medicaments, pharmaceutical goods, bandages, and immunological products soaring more than 138%.

"The state’s historically strong export sectors dropped, including aircraft parts, industrial machinery, electrical machinery—much of this related to COVID-19’s reverberations throughout the aviation industry, travel limits and global border shutdowns," the digest reported.

Aerospace parts and components, the leading state's leading export sector, fell 30% last year to $4.37 billion.

Aerospace parts and components, the leading state's leading export sector, fell 30% last year to $4.37 billion.

Industrial machinery exports declined 6%, optical and medical/surgical instruments dropped 5%, electrical machinery fell 10%, and special classification products slipped 26%.

The digest's export numbers do not include the services sector and "therefore do not take into account COVID-19’s devastating impact on travel, tourism, international students’ education, all classified as service exports."

National Picture

Nationally, exports fell 12.89% last year to $1.43 trillion, down from $1.64 trillion in 2019, with all states except Colorado, Utah, Oregon, and New Jersey posting declines last year.

Exports to Canada and Mexico, the country's top two export markets, fell 12.81% and 17.11% respectively.

Exports to Canada and Mexico, the country's top two export markets, fell 12.81% and 17.11% respectively.

Connecticut ranked 28 among states for exports in 2020, with Texas, California, New York, Louisiana, and Illinois the country's top five exporters.

The New England states exported $51.27 billion in goods last year, down 9.44% from the previous year.

Markets

Among Connecticut's top 10 international markets, only the Netherlands saw gains in 2020, with commodity exports increasing 9%, driven by demand for chemical products, oral dental hygiene, and substances for food and drink preparation.

France, a major importer of aerospace parts and components, posted the largest decline among Connecticut's top markets, with exports to that country falling 52%.

France, a major importer of aerospace parts and components, posted the largest decline among Connecticut's top markets.

Exports to Germany, Connecticut's top international market, fell 14%, with Canada (-14%), the United Kingdom (-20%), China (-13%), and France rounding out the top five markets.