Kentucky has recently grown its share of global exports, largely on the strength of its transportation equipment and chemical industries. Exports of Kentucky's renowned livestock and world-famous bourbon distilleries generate millions of dollars in profits and thousands of jobs. In fact, international trade supports over 460,000 jobs in the state.

Job Creation

  • In Kentucky, 467,600 jobs (18.7%) are supported by trade, including 143,536 jobs supported by manufactured goods exports in 2016.1
  • In 2015, 4,476 companies exported goods from Kentucky of which 80% were small- and medium-sized enterprises. In 2015, 117,300 people were employed by affiliates of companies at least 50% foreign-owned.2

Exports and Growth

  • Kentucky exported $30.9 billion in goods to foreign markets in 2017. Kentucky's largest markets in 2017 were:2
    • Canada ($7.6 billion)
    • United Kingdon ($3.2 billion)
    • France ($2.9 billion)
    • China ($2.8 billion)
    • Brazil ($2.4 billion)
  • Agricultural exports are important to Kentucky's' economy, totaling $2.1 billion in 2016, according to the USDA.3
  • Since 2013, the U.S. Export-Import Bank has financed $354 million in exports from 32 companies in Kentucky.4
  • Since 1971, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has invested $122 million in Kentucky companies for overseas investment.5

Education and Research

  • In 2015-2016, 4,216 Kentucky students studied abroad.6
  • During 2017, 7,832 international students were enrolled in Kentucky colleges and universities and contributed $227 million to the Kentucky economy.6

Global Engagement

  • Since 1961, 1,635 Peace Corps volunteers from Kentucky have served in dozens of countries overseas.7