Strong manufacturing sector helps U.S. trade deficit shrinkThe U.S. trade deficit fell unexpectedly in April thanks to a robust manufacturing sector, according to a published report.

The New York Times reports that the American trade deficit shrank in April, with U.S. companies selling more than $175 billion in goods and services. That figure serves as the biggest export data ever, according to government data.

The U.S. Department of Commerce said that exports of goods were $126.4 billion and that services hit $49.1 billion. Total imports were logged at $219.2 billion, which ultimately resulted in a trade deficit of $43.7 billion, which is the lowest level since December. Furthermore, the March trade deficit was revised lower to $46.8 billion from $48.2 billion.

Economists said the reduction in the trade deficit was likely caused by the lowered value of the dollar, which has made American goods and services more competitive. What's more, the decline in imports was caused in part by the supply chain crisis emanating from Japan, where companies are still struggling to resume full production following March's natural disasters.

Exports represent roughly 10 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). 
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  1. I think what it really means is that the only robust markets are outside of our borders, and that is who is buying our products. That, the problems in Japan and the weaker dollar lowered our trade deficit. What we really need is to have US companies showing record sales to US companies. THAT would indicate a strong manufacturing sector. We keep kidding ourselves about a so-called "recovery". I don't see it, and the New York Times heralding it doesn't really make me believe it any more.