Sluggish growth abroad, particularly in Europe, is adversely affecting U.S. exports, reports David Huether, senior vice president of economics and research at the U.S. Travel Association in his analysis of the Commerce Department's report on August exports.
The Commerce Department reported today that the trade deficit increased by $1.7 billion in August to a level of $44.2 billion. Overall exports of goods and services fell $1.9 billion in August while imports edged down $0.2 billion, Huether noted.
The overall decline in exports was the second consecutive monthly drop and the third decline in the past five months, Huether said, which is a concerning sign that exports – the strongest component of the economic recovery to-date – are being adversely affected by sluggish growth.
"Following two consecutive monthly increases, travel exports showed little change in August, edging down $13 million to a level of $13.8 billion. On the positive side, spending by international travelers in the United States increased by $26 million in August – the sixth increase in the past eight months. This rise, however, was offset by a $39 million decline in exports of passenger fares," Heuther said.
"Still, travel exports continue to outpace other exports of goods and services so far this year. Through the first eight months of 2012, travel exports increased a solid 8.3 percent compared to 2011, which is much faster than the 4.8 percent rise in other exports," he noted.
"There has been clear evidence that the expansion of the Visa Waiver Program in recent years, such as South Korea's entry in 2008, has increased international visitation to the United States and created American jobs, and the recent announcement that Taiwan is being added to the Visa Waiver Program will be another much-needed boost for the American economy," Huether reported.