The U.S. trade deficit rose in June to the highest point in 10 months, driven by a jump in imports of oil and Chinese-made computers, cellphones and clothing.
The deficit rose to $44.5 billion in June, 8.7 percent higher than a revised May deficit of $41 billion, the Commerce Department reported Friday. It was the biggest gap between what America sells abroad and what the country imports since a $44.6 billion deficit last August.
Exports, which have struggled this year with the strong dollar and global weakness, edged up 0.3 percent to $183.2 billion. Imports rose 1.9 percent to $227.7 billion, led by a 19.4 percent jump in petroleum imports.
The politically sensitive deficit with China increased to $29.8 billion, a jump of 2.5 percent, the widest gap in seven months.
A wider U.S. trade deficit acts as a drag on growth because it means the nation is earning less on overseas sales of U.S. exports while spending more on imports.
Through the first six months of this year, the deficit is 2.3 percent below the same period in 2015, when it rose to $250.5 billion. The lower deficit reflects the fact that while U.S. exports are down, the value of imports is down by a larger amount, reflecting the drop in oil prices.
— Associated Press
Women overwhelmingly found work in July, even as the nation’s unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent.
The jobless level for adult women fell to 4.3 percent from 4.9 percent a year ago, the Labor Department reported Friday morning. Unemployment for women ages 35 to 44 dropped a full point over the past 12 months to 3.5 percent. The rate also fell solidly for women between ages 25 and 34.
The overall unemployment rate stayed the same because more than 400,000 people joined those looking for work in July.
Not all groups benefited last month. The jobless rate increased last month for adult men, Asians and people older than 55. But summer jobs meant that the unemployment rate dipped for teenagers, and fewer African Americans were unemployed.
— Associated Press
● Consumers borrowed more in June but at the slowest pace in 17 months. The Federal Reserve said Friday that total borrowing rose by $12.3 billion during the month, down from an increase of $17.9 billion in May. The slowdown came from a big drop in the growth of auto and student loans, which rose by just $4.6 billion in June, the weakest monthly performance in five years. The category that covers credit cards rose by $7.7 billion, up from an increase of $1.8 billion in May. The increase in overall borrowing pushed total credit to a record $3.63 trillion.
● Prosecutors ﬁled a request Thursday asking the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan to reconsider its reversal of a fraud verdict against Bank of America that led to a penalty of more than $1.2 billion. The government said the three-judge panel overlooked “a wealth of evidence” that the bank sold thousands of toxic mortgage loans while misrepresenting them as investment quality. In May, the appeals panel reversed a jury’s finding that the bank and its Countrywide Financial unit misled government housing agencies the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation in late 2007 and 2008.
● Automotive parts supplier ZF North America is recalling 505,000 control sensors in the United States for a software update because they can make some nine-speed transmissions shift into neutral without warning. The company said in government documents that the transmissions were sold to several automakers that will issue recalls. But the only one identified was Fiat Chrysler, which discovered the problem last month and recalled more than 323,000 U.S. vehicles to fix the sensors.
— From news services