The trade deficit edged down slightly in August although the imbalance for the year is running well above last year's pace. The trade gap with China hit an all-time high.
The Commerce Department says the deficit dipped to $45.61 billion in August, the lowest gap in four months. For the year, the deficit is running at an annual rate of $564.3 billion, 13 percent higher than last year. A higher deficit acts as a drag on economic growth because it means fewer jobs for American workers.
For August, exports slipped by $95 million to $177.6 billion, as sales of autos, aircraft engines and oilfield equipment all declined. Imports fell a larger $111 million to $223.2 billion, reflecting declines in imports of cars, clothing and aircraft.