U.S. exports climbing, bolstering nation's economic competitiveness U.S. exports are increasing at a rapid clip, a phenomenon that is indicative of an overall economic recovery, NPR reports.

The Obama Administration has continually stressed the importance of increasing the nation's exports. In his 2010 State of the Union, President Obama extolled the importance of enacting policies that would support the nation's manufacturers and ultimately drive productivity and output.

In his address, the president also affirmed the administration's goal of roughly doubling U.S. exports over the next five years. Doing so, Obama argued, would also help create more than 2 million jobs. Critics balked at such an objective, but the U.S. is actually moving toward doing just that, according to the news provider.

U.S. exports, one of the many benchmarks of economic productivity, are up more than 34 percent since January 2010, and manufacturers are continuing to experience increased demand for products. While growth in industrialized countries has stalled over the past few years, the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC), among other developing nations, has remained robust, helping fuel the uptick in exports.

American firms have been successful in their efforts to improve supply chain management and overhaul procurement services, which has helped increase the nation's global competitiveness. Some economists had argued the U.S. should shift its focus away from manufacturing and toward other industries such as technology, but the positive export figures underscore how U.S. firms are succeeding, even against countries such as Germany and China.

Experts assert the increase in export activity is not relegated to one industry or specific niche. Rather, it has been a broad recovery over the past two years, with agricultural products, advanced electronics equipment and other goods benefitting. American beef makers have also profited, according to the news provider.

"We ship to Amsterdam; from there, it goes to 19 countries," said Jim Caruso, the chief executive of Maryland-based craft beer maker Flying Dog. "The top countries for us are England, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands."

Moreover, manufacturers are not the only U.S. companies contributing to the positive exports data. Service firms, such as those that specialize in supply chain consulting, are also experiencing torrid demand from abroad. Such businesses have increasingly relied on growth in Asia and Latin and South America to help fuel overall growth, and they are playing a significant role in the nascent recovery.

George Mason University economist Tyler Cowen told NPR that improvements in technology have played a significant role in driving exports, particularly in terms of manufacturing. Wages are higher in the U.S. than they are in, for instance, China, but advanced equipment and machinery are helping offset such a competitive disadvantage, Cowen noted.

"A lot of it is being driven by smart machines," he said. "The U.S. has high wage rates, which is a disadvantage, but if machines are doing a lot of the work, that doesn’t matter."

The rebirth of the U.S. automobile sector has also helped bolster the nation's exports, The Associated Press reports. U.S. exports of car parts jumped 98 percent in 2011, and are projected to climb 90 percent this year, according to Michelle O'Neill, the U.S. Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce. She noted export growth among automakers is expected to remain robust over the next decade, especially as U.S. firms target growth in Russia, which is poised to join the World Trade Organization (WTO) this summer.

Upon Russia's joining the WTO, the nation will have to cut tariffs aimed at supporting domestic producers, a shift that will benefit U.S. companies, she added.

"They're seeing enough market potential to go after the market now rather than waiting for the reduction. The data says: they're going now," O'Neill said in an interview.

Still, though the nation's exports have grown over the past few years, job growth has been slower. Cowen said skilled workers capable of operating advanced equipment are likely to see an increase in job opportunities, but he said the future is not as bright for those without such expertise.

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