Gov. Beshear: Kentucky Exports Break All-Time Record in 2023, Topping $40 Billion in Products Shipped Globally

Aerospace products and parts remains top export, Canada the No. 1 destination

FRANKFORT, Ky. (Feb. 29, 2024) – Today, Gov. Andy Beshear announced more Kentucky-made products were shipped around the world in 2023 than in any other year on record, as the commonwealth broke its single-year total with $40.2 billion in exports, a 16.6% increase over the previous year.

According to data recently made available by the U.S. Census Bureau, Foreign Trade Division and WISERTrade, aerospace products and parts once again led Kentucky’s exports by category in 2023. The industry shipped more than $13.3 billion in products out of the United States, representing a 27.7% increase over the previous year.

“In Kentucky, we’re working hard to ensure our place as a leader in economic development, and this growth in exports shows our efforts are succeeding,” said Gov. Beshear. “Thanks to 2023’s record high, Kentucky-made products continue to make their way into more homes and businesses all around the world. Our commitment to global partnerships is another way we’re showing Kentucky is the best place to do business and that Kentucky-made products are second to none.”

Pharmaceuticals and medicines, as well as motor vehicles, continued to show growth and remain among Kentucky’s leading exports. Pharmaceuticals saw $3.8 billion in products distributed, a 7% increase over the previous year, while $3.7 billion worth of motor vehicles were shipped globally, a 1.6% growth over 2022. Motor vehicle parts (over $1.7 billion) and basic chemicals (over $1.3 billion) round out the top five industries shipping products from the commonwealth.

The top export destinations have remained fairly consistent over recent years, with Canada once again leading the way with over $9.1 billion in products shipped north in 2023. The United Kingdom (more than $3.8 billion), France (over $3.6 billion) and China (more than $2.8 billion) remain in the top five destinations for Kentucky-made products, as Mexico, now Kentucky’s third-largest exports destination, moved into the top five with nearly $3.7 billion in exports last year.

Kentucky’s export growth builds on the best four-year period for economic growth in state history.

Since the beginning of his administration, Gov. Beshear has announced more than 1,000 private-sector new-location and expansion projects totaling over $30.3 billion in announced investments, creating nearly 52,000 jobs. This is the highest investment figure secured during the tenure of any governor in the commonwealth’s history.

The robust job creation has been accompanied by rising wages across the commonwealth. The average incentivized hourly wage in 2022 and 2023 topped $26 in consecutive years for the first time.

Gov. Beshear has announced some of the largest economic development projects in state history, which have solidified Kentucky as the electric vehicle battery production capital of the United States: Ford Motor Co. and SK On’s transformative $5.8 billion, 5,000-job BlueOval SK Battery Park in Hardin County; AESC’s $2 billion, 2,000-job gigafactory project in Warren County; Toyota’s $1.3 billion investment in Scott County; and INFAC North America’s $53 million investment in Taylor County, among others.

The Governor’s administration also secured the largest General Fund budget surplus and Rainy Day Fund, as well as the most jobs filled in state history. Last year, Kentucky set the record for the longest period with the lowest unemployment rates in state history.

Kentucky also secured rating increases from major credit rating agencies Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings, and Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Kentucky’s credit outlook from stable to positive.

Site Selection magazine placed Kentucky first in the South Central region and top 5 nationally in its 2023 Prosperity Cup ranking, which recognizes state-level economic development agencies for their success in landing capital investment projects.

Gov. Beshear announced a “Supply Kentucky” initiative with the goal of boosting job growth, reducing costs and providing more security in the supply chains of our Kentucky companies.

For more information on Kentucky exports, visit

Information on Kentucky’s economic development efforts and programs is available at Fans of the Cabinet for Economic Development can also join the discussion at, on Twitter @CEDkygov, Instagram @CEDkygov and LinkedIn.