September Exports Recover from August Slip

The trade deficit narrowed as exports jumped in September 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Following August, in which exports dropped to the lowest level in six months, September's figures were much more welcome, as exports rose by 3.1% to $187 billion and imports increased only 1.5%, to $228.5 billion. The trade deficit shrunk from $43.8 billion in August, revised, to $41.5 billion in September, marking a 5.1% decrease.

The service sector set a new single month record with $53 billion in exports, breaking the $52.8 billion set in August. Goods exports also set a monthly record, increasing by $5.4 billion to a high of $134 billion in September.

“Although more work remains, today's report shows that we're making historic progress toward achieving President Obama’s goal of doubling our exports by the end of 2014. Total U.S. exports hit a record high in September, as did export levels of both goods and services,” said Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank, referring to the newly-reelected President Obama's National Export Initiative. “Travel and tourism also continues to be a bright spot, with today’s data showing year-to-date exports 8% ahead of the same period last year. These kinds of increases mean more American jobs—1.2 million jobs were supported by exports between 2009 and 2011.”

Gains in goods exports were driven by increases in industrial supplies and materials ($3.4 billion), foods, feeds and beverages ($1.1 billion) and consumer goods ($0.5 billion). The increase in services exports was chalked up to bumps in travel ($0.2 billion) and other private services ($0.1 billion), which includes business, professional, technical, insurance and financial services.

- Jacob Barron, CICP, NACM staff writer

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