My Bush Boom Still Setting Records

From Holden:

But not the good ones.

The U.S. trade deficit shot up 12 percent in April to $56.96 billion, reflecting a surge in oil imports to the second highest level on record, the government reported Friday.

The Commerce Department said the new trade imbalance increased from a $53.56 billion deficit in March as imports rose 4.1 percent to a new record, swamping a 3 percent increase in U.S. export sales, which also set a record.

So far this year, the trade deficit is running at an annual rate of $686 billion, 11 percent higher than the record $617.58 billion deficit set for all of 2004.

Total imports rose to an all-time high of $163.38 billion in April, led by a 4.3 percent jump in petroleum imports to $19.4 billion, just below last November’s record. The average price for a barrel of crude oil imported during April hit a record high of $44.76 as global prices surged during the month.

Exports also rose to a record level of $106.42 billion in April, with sales of commercial aircraft, computer chips and industrial engines all posting big increases.

The soaring trade deficits have translated into a major political headache for President Bush as critics contend his trade policies have failed to protect American workers from unfair foreign competition, resulting in a string of record deficits and the loss of more than 3 million manufacturing jobs since mid-2000.