Exports of goods manufactured in Virginia and Maryland have risen twice as fast as production in recent years -- with Virginia's volume of manufactured exports passing the billion-dollar mark, according to new U.S. Department of Commerce figures.

Virginia was ranked 17th nationally in manufactured exports with a total of $1.5 billion in exported goods in 1976, an increase of 116 percent since 1972. Maryland ranked 29th with a total of $641 million in manufactured exports in 1976, a 104 percent rise since 1972.

Although the United States is the world's largest exporter, few Americans are aware of the importance of exporting, especially in terms of inflation, jobs and the value of the dollar.

"Americans are less concerned about exports than the people of any other major industrial nation," said two separate reports on Maryland and Virginia.

The United States sells more than $140 billion of goods abroad each year, which amounts to $1 for every $7 of all U.S. goods produced. Exports account for $1 of every $4 of farm sales, for example. However, the number of imports has been surpassing the number of exports, leading to a record trade deficit last year of $28.5 bllion.

Virginia, whose seaports at Norfolk and Newport News rank second in volume of exports, was also second nationally in coal exporting, according to the Commerce report. Virginia contributed 25 percent to the nation's oil exports, second only to West Virginia.

Virginia's leading export, however, was tobacco, which was valued at $454 million in 1976 and contributed to 3,200 export-related jobs in the state. Manufactured exports accounted for 21,400 jobs in the state, the report said.

Virginia was second only to North Carolina in tobacco exports and accounted for 45 percent of the nation's manufactured tobacco exports in 1976.

Virginia ranked 30th in agricultural exports in 1976, according to the report.

Electric machinery, chemicals and nonelectric machinery were Maryland's largest manufactured exports in the recent five years. Exports of electric machinery were valued at $147 million in 1976 and generated employment for about 3,800 persons. Chemical exports were valued at $129 million, and exported nonelectric machinery was worth $121 million. Each generated about 2,300 jobs.

Maryland's seventh ranked ports -- the Baltimore seaport and the Baltimore-Washington International Airport -- exported $5.2 million in products in 1976, the report continued.

In exports of agricultural products, Maryland ranked 34th nationally, with a total of $136 million in 1977. Feed grain and soybeans led unmanufactured tobacco, "for many years the leading export crop from the state," as the state's top exported agricultural product, the report on Maryland said.

The reports noted that more then one in nine Americans employed in manufacturing industries produce manufactured goods that are exported. Manufactured goods referred to in the report include food, mineral fuels, fats, oils, firearms and ammunition in addition to standard definitions of manufactured goods.

The reports were two in a series of 50 produced by the Office of International Economic Research of the Industry and Trade Administration.