January 5, 2022

The trade deficit widened by $13.0 billion in November to $80.2 billion after having narrowed by $14.3 billion in October. While volatile on a monthly basis the deficit has widened  dramatically since April of last year because imports rose more sharply than exports. That suggests that the U.S. economy has recovered from the recession, and continues to grow far more quickly than the rest of the world.

Exports climbed by $0.4 billion or 0.2% in November.  It has been in a steady uptrend since the recession ended in April of last year as the global economy recovers.  In the past year exports have risen 21.1%.

Imports increased by $13.4 billion or 4.6%. In the past year imports have risen 20.6%.

The best gauge of global trade flows is the change in the total of both exports and imports.  It has been rising steadily for the past year and It is now 17.1% higher than it was prior to the recession in February 2020.

The trade deficit in real terms widened by $13.7 billion in November to 110.8 billion after having narrowed by $14.0 billion in October.  The deficit in real terms is important because that is what goes into the GDP calculation.  As that deficit widens, it means that the trade component is subtracting a significant amount from GDP.

Stephen Slifer


Charleston, SC