The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis issued the latest goods and services trade numbers this morning.
In January, exports grew for the fifth straight month. January exports were up by 2.7 percent compared to December (on a seasonally adjusted basis), and had grown by 15.9 percent compared with a year earlier.
Meanwhile, imports in January showed growth for the third straight month – up by 5.2 percent compared to December, and by 19.3 percent versus a year earlier.
These are positive developments for the economy, especially given the importance of trade to U.S. growth. Expanding exports point to increased opportunity for U.S. businesses, entrepreneurs and workers in the international marketplace, while rising imports reflect growth in the domestic economy.
As for an expanding trade deficit in January, that’s nothing to worry about. After all, a quick look at economic history shows that the U.S. trade deficit, not surprisingly, expands in good times and contracts in bad times.
Raymond J. Keating
Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council