There's a lot going on with these exports.
I generated the following table in response to the questions from StatsGeek.
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(Click here for a readable pdf of the table.)
This includes exports and population data for Minnesota and the other 19 states that export more than Minnesota. In short, it shows that only two other states, Kentucky and Massachusetts had slower export growth rates than Minnesota from 2010 - 2011.
This is the punch line in the very interesting explanation from Thu-Mai Ho-Kim, senior research analyst at DEED.
"If we exclude Ireland from both MN and US ... MN export growth exceeds US growth for 4 years during the 2005-2011 period, rather than just in 2005, and for most years during the longer period of 1998-2011."
If you want the gory details, here are excerpted parts of her explanation.
One final point from Thu-Mai Ho-Kim:
"Since the mid-2000s ... fortunately we've seen tremendous growth in exports to China, and other emerging markets, which really helped our state exports and offset declines to Ireland!"
Next time I get a chance, I'll try to figure out why exports to Ireland have fallen off.