But China goods trade deficit sets yet another new record
Washington. The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) praised the latest monthly jobs report, which shows that the US economy continues to grow strongly and create jobs. However, a September trade deficit running 21 percent worse than a year ago means urgent action is required on the trade front. The monthly jobs summary reported 250,000 new jobs in October, including 32,000 new manufacturing jobs. So far this year, US manufacturing has added 296,000 jobs, the best record since 1995. Unemployment remains at a historically low level of 3.7 percent, while 3.1 percent growth in average hourly earnings has finally broken through the 3 percent threshold.
Unfortunately, the latest federal data also reveals serious challenges for US manufacturers and farmers. In September, America’s monthly international trade deficit in goods and services reached $54.0 billion, up 1.0 percent from the prior month and 21 percent above the year-on-year data. Overall, the US is on course for a 2018 trade deficit of $607 billion, the highest since 2008. And despite timely tariff actions from President Trump, the nation’s goods deficit with China set a stunning new record of $40.2 billion in September, a 16.6 percent increase over September 2017’s level of $34.5 billion.
“The US economy is firing on many cylinders,” said CPA chair Dan DiMicco. “Today’s strong jobs growth adds to a picture that includes strong GDP growth, low unemployment, and wages that are now growing faster than inflation.”
DiMicco added, “But more must be done on trade. We’ve never before seen a $40 billion deficit with China in a single month. President Trump needs to implement a full set of tariffs on Chinese imports as soon as possible to fix our China trade balance.”
One bright spot in the trade report was that, despite retaliation from China against America’s farmers, US soybean exports on a year-to-date basis have reached $23.1 billion, up 30 percent over the same period in 2017. And corn exports are up 25 percent year-to-date, at $10.3 billion.
“As we look at America’s deteriorating trade balance, we see the urgency of President Trump’s policies to confront China and reduce the trade deficit,” said Michael Stumo, CEO of the CPA. “Tariffs are critical, particularly against China—a nation that violates all the rules of free and fair trade. But more needs to be done, especially when the US dollar has edged up 6 percent since April. We will continue to urge Washington to bring down the price of the overvalued dollar—an effort that could significantly help our farmers, manufacturers, and workers as they compete globally.”
Click here to read CPA’s full analysis of the latest monthly US trade figures.