January 11, 2021

U.S. Trade Deficit Widens, But Canada’s Grows Smaller


  • The U.S. trade deficit expanded eight percent from October 2020 to November 2020 to hit $68.1 billion in November, its highest reading in 14 years. The increase reflected a 2.9 percent increase in imports of goods and services and a 1.2 percent rise in exports. The deficit stood at $604.8 billion for first 11 months of 2020, 13.9 percent higher than the same period in 2019. The trade deficit with China rose 1.9 percent to $30.7 billion in November and totaled $283.6 billion for the first 11 months of 2020. That latter figure was down 11.5 percent from the same period in 2019.
  • Statistics Canada announced last week that the country’s merchandise exports rose 0.5 percent in November while imports fell 0.3 percent due to lower shipments of industrial machinery, equipment, and parts. Canada’s merchandise trade deficit fell from $3.7 billion in October to $3.3 billion in November. Merchandise exports are now C$1.5 billion below the pre-COVID-19-pandemic mark set in February. Exports of metal and non-metallic mineral products increased 11.6 percent in November, mainly on higher exports of unwrought gold, silver, and platinum group metals, while exports of metal ores and non-metallic minerals also rose significantly. Click here to read the full report.
  • New orders for manufactured goods in the United States rose one percent in November to $487.2 billion while shipments increased 0.7 percent to $492.9 billion. The number of unfilled orders fell 0.1 percent to $1.07 trillion and the unfilled orders-to-shipments ratio rose to 6.40 from 6.38 in October. Inventories also rose, increasing 0.7 percent to $692.9 billion. The inventories-to-shipments ratio was unchanged from October at 1.41.
  • The IHS Markit purchasing managers’ index (PMI) for the United States rose to 57.1 in December from 56.7 in November. That was the highest level the index has seen since September 2014. The report said expansions in output and new orders remained high, but also said that supply chain disruptions were the most severe on record. Click here to read the full report.
  • According to Reuters, the IHS Markit Canada Manufacturing PMI rose to a seasonally adjusted 57.9 in December from 55.8 in November, the sixth straight month that the PMI was above the 50 threshold that marks expansion in the sector and the highest level for the index since the survey began in October 2010.
  • Total employment declined in the United States by 140,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent. The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and efforts to contain the pandemic. Manufacturers in the United States added 38,000 jobs, but still have 543,000 fewer jobs than it did in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold in the United States. In other employment news: New weekly claims for federal unemployment insurance in the United States totaled 787,000 in the final week of 2020, well above the pre-pandemic record high. In the week ending January 2, weekly jobless claims fell by 3,000 from the previous week’s total of 790,000. Nearly 5.1 million individuals continued to receive unemployment benefits during the week that ended December 26, a decrease of 126,000 from the previous week’s level. Click here to read the U.S. Department of Labor’s full report.
  • According to Statistics Canada, employment in the country fell by 63,000 in December – the first decline since April. The nation’s unemployment rate held steady at 8.6 percent. The employment picture still is much better than it was last spring. As of the end of December, 1.1 million Canadian workers said they were out of work or had lost hours because of the COVID-19 economic shutdown, compared with 5.5 million in April.