How the Global Economy Impacts You

It’s no secret that the U.S. imports more goods and services than it exports. The interesting thing is charting how this changes over time.

The official term for the shortfall is the “goods and services deficit”, and it’s up to the The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce to report on it.

As of November 2015 (the latest figures), goods and services deficit was $42.4 billion. This was down $2.2 billion from $44.6 billion in October.

In November 2015, the U.S. exported $182.2 billion, and imported $224.6 billion. Both figures were down from the previous month.

Year-to-date, the goods and services deficit increased $25.2 billion, or 5.5%, from the same period in 2014. Exports decreased $99.0 billion or 4.6%. Imports decreased $73.7 billion or 2.8 percent.

All of this relates to the global economy, and our trading relationship with individual countries.

The November figures show surpluses, in billions of dollars, with South and Central America ($2.7), OPEC ($1.1), Saudi Arabia ($0.4), United Kingdom ($0.3), and Brazil ($0.1).

Deficits were recorded, in billions of dollars, with China ($30.2), European Union ($12.8), Japan ($5.6), Germany ($5.5), Mexico ($5.4), Italy ($2.4), South Korea ($2.3), India ($2.1), France ($2.1), and Canada ($0.9).

As you can see, some of our surpluses had to do with energy. The U.S. has increased energy production in recent years. At the same time, the price of energy has gone down. Hence, we have surpluses with some energy producers.

We also have deficits with countries that we import a lot of goods and services from. Much of this has to do with manufactured goods. It underscores why “buy American” isn’t really empty sloganeering. In fact, our tendency to not buy American accounts for a lot of money.

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