The annual trade data out of the December trade report has some shocking results. The 2011 trade deficit increased 11.6% from 2010. As a percentage of GDP the trade deficit is returning to pre-recession levels. The trade deficit is now 3.7% of U.S. GDP, up from 3.4% in 2010. The worst was 2006, when the soaring out of balance, trade deficit was 5.6% of GDP. Below is a graph of the U.S. trade deficit as a percentage of U.S. annual nominal GDP.
For 2011, exports of $2,103.1 billion and imports of $2,661.1 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $558.0 billion, $58.0 billion more than the 2010 deficit of $500.0 billion. For goods, exports were $1,498.2 billion and
imports were $2,235.3 billion, resulting in a goods deficit of $737.1 billion, $91.2 billion more than the 2010 deficit of $645.9 billion. For services, exports were $604.9 billion and imports were $425.9 billion, resulting in a services surplus of
$179.0 billion, $33.2 billion more than the 2010 surplus of $145.8 billion.
The larger the trade deficit is, as a percentage of nominal GDP, the more a trade deficit stunts domestic economic growth. Below is a graph of the annual trade deficit since 1992.