Looks like we are closing that culture gap.
The U.S. trade deficit fell to the lowest level in seven months, helped by record-high sales of American products. The deficit with China declined as imports edged down slightly following a string of high-profile recalls.
The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the deficit declined to $57.6 billion in August, down 2.4 percent from the July imbalance. It was lowest gap between exports and imports since January and a much better showing than had been expected.
The improvement reflected a 0.4 percent rise in exports, which climbed to a record $138.3 billion. Sales of farm products including wheat, soybeans and corn, and exports of industrial products such as chemicals and steel both hit record levels.
Imports actually dropped by 0.4 percent to $195.9 billion, reflecting lower shipments of foreign cars and furniture, which offset a big increase in the foreign oil bill, which rose to the highest level in a year.
As an added bonus ... there was some improvement in unemployment as well.
In other economic news, the Labor Department said that the number of newly laid off workers filing claims for unemployment benefits fell by 12,000 last week to 308,000. That was a better showing than had been expected.
China is also feeling the brunt of putting lead in everything they manufacture.
The politically sensitive deficit with China fell by 5.3 percent to $22.5 billion. U.S. exports were up, led by increased sales of aircraft and soybeans, while imports slipped a slight 0.7 percent. The decline in imports occurred after a series of recalls of tainted products from toys with lead paint to toothpaste and unsafe tires.
However, the small drop came in such areas as computers and furniture, where there have not been highly publicized recalls. Imports of toys from China actually rose as American retailers stocked their shelves for Christmas.