The improving state of US trade

January 7, 2014

The US is beginning to become less reliant on imports, as the trade deficit fell in November to the lowest level since October 2009.  The trade deficit is the difference between how much a country imports and how much it exports.

Here’s the state of US trade in chart form, relative to China, one of its primary trading partners :

Why did the trade deficit fall? “Look no further than Texas, North Dakota, and other states where oil production is booming,” Peter Coy writes. The boom in natural gas — the Shale revolution — has also made a big dent in America’s trade balance, he adds. Matt Phillips has more charts here, and notes that energy is pushing US exports to an all-time high. The International Energy Agency said in November that the US will be the world’s top oil producer in 2015, thanks in large part to shale.

Still, the shale revolution hasn’t yet had a revolutionary impact on the overall job market, James Hamilton noted in December. “The impact on GDP growth is estimated by Goldman Sachs to be 0.10 ppts in 2013,” he writes. Here’s his chart comparing job growth in oil and gas-related industries to overall job growth:


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