January 13, 2020

U.S. Trade Deficit At Lowest Point Since 2016


  • The U.S. trade deficit decreased to $43.1 billion in November 2019 from $46.9 billion in October due to declines in both exports and imports. It was the lowest deficit on record since 2016. The goods deficit decreased $3.9 billion in November to $63.9 billion. The services surplus decreased less than $0.1 billion in November to $20.8 billion. The U.S. goods trade deficit with China totaled $26.4 billion in November 2019, a 30.4 percent decline from November 2018. U.S. imports from China declined 21.6 percent year-over-year while U.S. exports to China grew 16.6 percent.
  • Canada’s trade deficit fell to C$1.09 billion in November from C$1.61 billion in October, according to Statistics Canada. Analysts had expected a C$1.15 billion deficit. Exports fell 1.4 percent, but imports were down by more (2.4 percent).
  • The U.S. economy added 145,000 jobs in December 2019 and the nation’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent. The U.S. manufacturing sector lost 12,000 jobs in December, including 9,500 in metal-making industries. In other employment news: the number of individuals in the United States who filed for federal unemployment benefits for the first time fell in early January.
  • According to Statistics Canada, the Canadian economy added 35,200 jobs in December and the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent from 5.9 percent in November. The goods producing sector was responsible for about half of the new positions (15,700 jobs). Canada added 320,300 during all of 2019.
  • New orders for manufactured goods in the United States decreased 0.7 percent to $493 billion in November while shipments increased 0.3 percent to $502.2 billion. The value of unfilled orders dropped 0.4 percent to $1.159 trillion. Inventories rose 0.3 percent to $701 billion and the inventories-to-shipments ratio was 1.40, unchanged from October.
  • The U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced last week that its Worker Availability Ratio fell to the lowest level recorded in the nearly 20-year history of the data series: 0.88, meanwhile there are now less than one available worker in the United States per job opening. The monthly ratio has fallen from the record high of 7.99 in December 2010 and has averaged 2.84 over the history of the series since January 2001.