The Commerce Department has reported that the U.S. trade deficit jumped 9.7 percent to $36.4 billion in November, as an improving U.S. economy increased the demand for imports. This represents the deficit's highest level in 10 months and a bigger imbalance than the $34.5 billion deficit economists had previously forecast. However, exports rose as well by 0.9 percent to $138.24 billion, the seventh consecutive gain, as demand increased for American-made autos, farm products, and industrial machinery.
Through November 2009, the overall U.S. trade deficit reflected an annual rate of $371.59 billion, nearly half of 2008's imbalance of $695.94 billion. Last year's credit crisis and recession had sharply curtailed consumers' demand for imported goods. With the economy now beginning to recover and imports rising, economists are predicting a higher trade deficit for 2010. However, they also see a continued rise in demand for U.S. exports as overseas markets recover as well. China and other Asian nations are leading the rebound in the global economy.