Manufactured Goods Balance Improves Sharply

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said that the Commerce Department’s trade data for November 2008 showed a huge decrease in the manufactured goods trade deficit.

“Manufactured goods exports and imports both fell in November, with exports falling six percent and imports down 14 percent compared to November 2007,” said NAM Vice President for International Economic Affairs Frank Vargo. “The more rapid fall in imports cut the trade deficit dramatically -– a $13 billion improvement from November 2007.

“For the period of January-November 2008, the total manufactured goods deficit was $408 billion, a $57 billion improvement from the same period in 2007.

“The November figures confirm the end of the manufactured goods export boom that had been the brightest spot in the U.S. economy. Rapidly falling demand for imports overseas had an almost across-the-board effect on U.S. exports. Capital goods exports fell six percent while automotive exports dropped 17 percent. Curiously, U.S. exports of consumer goods actually rose six percent.

“Reflecting the declining economic conditions in the United States, manufactured goods imports also fell across the board. The big import categories of autos and consumer goods fell, respectively, 25 percent and nine percent.

“As has been the case all year, the manufactured goods trade balance with our Free Trade Partners continued to be in surplus – running a positive trade balance of $15.5 billion through November. Our trade surplus with these countries emphasizes the need for more Free Trade agreements.

“Exports have accounted for more than one in every five factory jobs, so the decline will further impact manufacturing employment. The end of the export boom makes it more imperative than ever to stimulate the U.S. economy for long-term job creation and pay greater attention to export promotion efforts and trade policy initiatives that would lower foreign barriers to U.S. exports.”

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