Our large trade deficit has been in the news a lot recently especially in regard to the large amount of money being spent to purchase the high-priced oil. This data is provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce and has been scaled down to reflect amounts per family. The data for 2007 is the last full year available for comparison.
 
Exports (per family)
   1960  1960Today  2007
Cotton           $   19 $   129 $    40
Corn             $    5 $    37 $    89
Wheat            $   18 $   128 $    73
Electrical Mach  $   15 $   108 $   715
Aircraft/parts   $   10 $    73 $   646
Automotive       $   23 $   161 $   836
Chemicals        $   31 $   212 $ 1,357
Steel Mill Prod  $   12 $    80 $   123
Textiles/clothes $   13 $    91 $   132
Total Mfg Goods  $  253 $ 1,757 $ 7,625
Total Exports    $  354 $ 2,461 $10,208


Imports (per family)   1960  1960Today  2007
Electrical Mach  $    5 $    35 $   998
Aircraft/parts   $    1 $     8 $   191
Automotive       $   10 $    68 $ 1,848
Chemicals        $    2 $    16 $ 1,365
Steel Mill Prod  $    6 $    39 $   271
Textiles/clothes $   16 $   109 $   913
Crude Oil        $   17 $   118 $ 2,158
Total Mfg Goods  $  100 $   692 $12,996
Total Imports    $  284 $ 1,977 $17,184


Editor's Analysis:
The tables show how much more we are "globalized" today than we were is 1960. Our CPI adjusted exports per average household are roughly four times higher today than they were in 1960. However, our CPI adjusted imports per average family have grown over eight times from 1960. Where we used to show a net trade surplus, the opposite is true today. The main area that has changed is the manufacturing sector. Although there are arguments to be made that this trade deficit is not all bad, it appears that we need to start to learn how to manufacture products again.










November 13, 2008