The Bureau of Economic Analysis announced this morning that the U.S. trade deficit fell to $43.1 billion in September, its 3rd consecutive monthly decline. A $2.8 billion increase in exports of manufactured products led the way (partially offset by a $0.3 billion increase in manufactured imports). This is good news, but I wouldn’t make too much of it, given that, as you can see from the following chart, the trade deficit remains range-bound at a pretty poor level: Balance of Trade
As measured by overall exports, we remain on track to meet the president’s goal of doubling exports in five years. But, as you can see from the following chart, imports have risen just as fast, so no significant progress has been made in reducing the deficit: Obamas Goal to Double Exports
And, as you can see from the following graph, we continue to lag slightly on the goal of doubling the exports of manufactured goods: Manf’d Goods Balance. The good news here is that the deficit in manufactured goods has shrunk back a bit in the last few months to its lowest level since January, 2010.