Bucking the global economic slowdown, Arizona businesses managed to eke out a 2.7 percent gain in exports to foreign countries in 2008, according to statistics released this week by the Arizona Department of Commerce.
Arizona industries exported a total of $19.7 billion worth of goods last year, which compares with $19.2 billion in 2007.
Although the increase didn't even cover the rate of inflation, which stood at 3.8 percent in 2008 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gov. Jan Brewer said the increase was "good economic news in the midst of challenging times."
Mexico continued to be the primary destination for Arizona products, buying $5.9 billion worth of goods last year, up 12 percent from the previous year.
Canada ranked second with purchases of $2.27 billion, up 3.7 percent.
The United Kingdom and Japan also increased their purchases, but exports declined to China, Singapore and Germany.
Electrical machinery, which includes semiconductors, continued to be the most in-demand category of Arizona exports, totalling $7.2 billion last year. However, that was down 5 percent from the previous year.
The biggest percentage gain was in the ores category, which grew 71 percent to $1.3 billion in 2008.
Arizona's exports have grown by more than $1.4 billion since 2006, with the majority of exporting firms classified as small- to medium-sized businesses.