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US Trade Deficit Hit All-Time High in Biden's First Full Month in Office

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The U.S. trade deficit hit an all-time high in February as Americans bought more imported goods in President Joe Biden’s first month in office.

The trade deficit jumped 4.8 percent to $71.1 billion in February, according to a report released Wednesday from the Commerce Department.

The surge is a $3.3 billion increase from January’s deficit of $67.8 billion.

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The record comes after Americans received more stimulus checks from Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill.

The U.S. economy also gained 916,000 new jobs in March, according to MarketWatch.

“Faster U.S. growth relative to the rest of the world has widened the trade deficit to a historic record,” economists Oren Klachkin and Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics said.

“The trade deficit is poised to widen as the U.S. recovery surges in the spring and summer.”

Are you surprised by the trade deficit?

Although both imports and exports were down in February, imports were only down 0.7 percent and totaled $258.3 billion.

The import level is almost 5 percent above the levels it reached in 2020, and MarketWatch predicted import purchases could have been higher if not for a “logjam at American ports.”

“Cargo ships have been forced to anchor outside the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, where about a third of goods imports come through, as the ports struggle to unload the incoming ships,” Jay Bryson, chief economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina, told Reuters.

The U.S. Department of Commerce also reported the trade deficit in China spiked to $30.3 billion.

U.S. exports, on the other hand, were down 2.6 percent and totaled $187.3 billion, still failing to reach the $208 billion achieved in February 2020.

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The U.S. exported fewer planes, computer chips, cars and food in February, contributing to a $4.8 billion decrease to $131.1 billion.

“The collapse of global travel is a huge hit to U.S. services exports,” senior economist Bill Adams of PNC Financial Services told MarketWatch.

The U.S. also recorded a net petroleum deficit for the first time since December 2019, Reuters reported.

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Birthplace
Tucson, Arizona
Nationality
American
Honors/Awards
Graduated with Honors
Education
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Location
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith




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