The Bureau of Economic Analysis and the Census Bureau said that the U.S. trade deficit rose from $50.44 billion in November to $53.12 billion in December, its highest level since October 2008. While that headline will likely make news, it is important to note that overall trade volumes have risen significantly over the past couple months, with goods exports (up from $134.07 billion to $137.47 billion) and imports (up from $204.85 billion to $210.82 billion). In a similar way, service-sector exports (up from $65.74 billion to $65.88 billion) also rose to its highest level on record, even as the service-sector trade surplus edged down from $20.35 billion to $20.23 billion.
More importantly for manufacturers, exports rebounded strongly in 2017—a nice turnaround after global economic weaknesses in both 2015 and 2016. U.S.-manufactured goods exports totaled $1,094.73 billion in 2017, up 4.34 percent from $1,049.24 billion in 2016. This reflects better year-to-date figures to the top six markets for U.S.-manufactured goods: Canada (up from $266.80 billion to $282.39 billion), Mexico (up from $229.70 billion to $242.99 billion), China (up from $115.60 billion to $130.37 billion), Japan (up from $63.24 billion to $67.70 billion), the United Kingdom (down from $55.29 billion to $56.33 billion) and Germany (up from $49.36 billion to $53.49 billion). Read More