WASHINGTON—The U.S. trade deficit hit a 14-year high in November as stores stocked up cellphones and other imported consumer and household goods ahead of the holiday season.
The foreign-trade gap in goods and services expanded 8% from the prior month to a seasonally adjusted $68.14 billion in November, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That was the highest deficit since August 2006, and the goods deficit was the highest on record.
Imports increased 2.9% in November to $252.3 billion. Exports rose 1.2% to $184.2 billion.
Factories in the U.S., Asia and Europe boosted their output as 2020 drew to a close, aided by a rise in new orders and a revival in trade that has continued despite a sharp rise in coronavirus infections across many large economies.
The U.S. deficit is “widening for the right reasons,” said Joshua Shapiro, chief U.S. economist at consulting firm Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., with demand for imports in the U.S. improving and demand for U.S. exports also picking up, just not as much. “Growth is improving here and abroad,” he said.