U.S. exports up, but higher imports widen trade deficit
By Howard Schneider
U.S. exports jumped more than 2 percent in May. But a surge in imports widened the country's trade deficit -- disappointing the effort to even out global trade flows.
The latest U.S. trade figures showed American businesses sold $152.3 billion of goods and services overseas in May, $3.5 billion more than in April.
Imports increased 2.9 percent to $194.5 billion.
The Obama administration is pushing to boost exports as a way to create jobs, and the increase was welcome news after a disappointing decline in April.
The overall widening of the country's trade deficit, however, showed how difficult it will be to rebalance the global economy so that the United States does not consume far more than it produces.
The U.S. trade deficit expanded in May to its highest level in 18 months, rising 4.8 percent to $42.3 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
The monthly trade deficit with China alone jumped $3 billion, to $22 billion, a figure that manufacturing groups said showed that a focus on exports alone was insufficient.
The deficit represents "wealth and jobs heading overseas," said Scott Paul, executive director of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
The trade deficit also represents a drag on overall economic growth at a time when the Federal Reserve and other analysts worry that the country's economic recovery is slowing.
July 13, 2010; 10:09 AM ET
Categories: Deficit/debt , Fed Reserve
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