March 9, 2020

Trade Deficit Down In United States, Up In Canada


  • The goods and services trade deficit in the United States was $45.3 billion in January 2020, down $3.3 billion from $48.6 billion in December 2019. imports. The decline reflected a decrease in the goods deficit of $2.6 billion to $67 billion and an increase in the services surplus of $0.6 billion to $21.7 billion. Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit decreased $8.5 billion, or 15.8 percent, from January 2019. Exports increased $2.3 billion (1.1 percent), while imports decreased $6.2 billion (2.4 percent).
  • According to Statistics Canada, the nation’s merchandise trade deficit grew to $1.5 billion in January compared with $732 million in December due to a two percent decline in exports. The negative reading was attributed mostly to a 4.1 percent drop in motor vehicle exports (exports are now at their lowest point since May 2018), but exports were down in nine of 11 categories.
  • The U.S. economy added 273,000 new jobs in February and the nation’s unemployment rate was 3.5 percent, matching its lowest level in more than 50 years. Average hourly earnings grew by three percent between February 2019 and February 2020. Manufacturers added 15,000 jobs last month.
  • The Canadian economy added 30,300 jobs in February (analysts had predicted at 10,000 gain), but the nation’s jobless rate increased to 5.6 percent. Wages rose 4.3 percent from February 2019.
  • New orders for manufactured goods in the United States fell $2.3 billion or 0.5 percent to $497.9 billion in January 2020 while shipments declined $2.3 billion (also 0.5 percent) to $501.8 billion. The value of unfilled orders was virtually unchanged while inventories decreased $0.5 billion or 0.1 percent to $703.4 billion.
  • The Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell 0.8 points to 50.1 percent in February due to a decline in new orders and production. Employment in the sector picked up, however.
  • In other economic news: construction spending in the United States increased 1.8 percent from December 2019 to January 2020 and 6.8 percent from January 2019 to January 2020; productivity in the United States increased 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019; and 16 U.S. states added jobs in 2019.