The U.S. deficit in manufactured goods grew to a seasonally-adjusted $40 billion in January 2011, based on data released by the Census Bureau today. That was a $6 billion increase over December 2010. Exports of manufactured goods fell 0.5 percent to a seasonally-adjusted $91.4 billion while imports rose 4.1 percent to $131.5 billion.
The biggest shift was in capital goods, where U.S. exports fell 1.2 percent from December, while imports rose 5.2 percent. That accounted for 40 percent of the increase in the deficit. Most of the rest of the increase was in consumer goods and automobiles.
Exports of commercial aircraft, which are subject to wide month to month swings, fell $1 billion in January, and accounted for more than the entire drop in capital goods exports. Particularly rapid one-month increases in imports of capital goods were in industrial machinery (up 16 percent over December), industrial engines (up 18 percent), and medical equipment (up 11 percent).
In terms of year-over-year developments, exports of manufactured goods in January were up 13 percent over January 2010, slightly below the flight path of 15 percent needed to double exports by 2014. Imports of manufactured goods, on the other hand, were up a considerably faster 22 percent.
Highlighting the important fact that U.S. manufactured goods trade performs much better with countries with which the United States has bilateral trade agreements, the latest data show that for U.S. trade agreement partners U.S. manufacturers continue to register a surplus – currently averaging about $1.8 billion a month.
Today’s report is a reminder of how important it is to move forward with the pending FTAs with Korea, Panama, and Colombia. The NAM has outlined the steps that need to be taken in order to reach the President’s goal of doubling exports in our Blueprint to Double Exports in Five Years.
Frank Vargo is the NAM vice president for internationl economic affairs.
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