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U.S. Trade in May Shows Significant Annual Growth
July 12, 2012

By MacKenzie C. Babb
IIP Staff Writer
July 11, 2012

A woman speaking at a microphone
Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank says while progress has been made, much work remains to be done to boost U.S. trade in support of global economic growth and job creation.

U.S. exports in May reached $183.1 billion, bringing total exports for the first five months of 2012 to $908.7 billion — a 5.7 percent, or $48.6 billion, increase from the same period in 2011, according to a new Commerce Department report.

“U.S. exports posted their second-highest level on record in May despite some tough economic conditions abroad, confirming the progress we are making on the path to achieving the president’s goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014,” Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank said in a July 11 statement following the report’s release. “We are on track toward exceeding last year’s export total of $2.1 trillion, which supported 9.7 million jobs.”

She said continuing to grow U.S. exports will remain critical to supporting job creation and boosting the country’s economic recovery.

The international trade report, issued by the Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis, showed export growth for the month was driven by record figures in total services ($52.4 billion) and foods, feeds and beverages ($11.8 billion). Capital goods and business, professional and technical services also saw an increase in May.

While exports grew during the month by 0.2 percent, imports dropped $1.6 billion from April to $231.8 billion.

This decrease in imports reflected decreases in industrial supplies and materials, consumer goods, and foods, feeds and beverages. Minor increases occurred in capital goods; automotive vehicles, parts and engines; other goods; and private services.

The trade deficit for May decreased to $48.7 billion from the previous month’s total of $50.6 billion.

The deficit increased by $1 billion from May 2011 to May 2012, with exports up by $7.4 billion, or 4.2 percent, and imports up $8.4 billion, or 3.8 percent.

The latest figures show surpluses with Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Egypt. Deficits were recorded with China, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the European Union, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Canada, South Korea, Venezuela, Nigeria and Taiwan.