U.S. exports in February ticked up while imports slid to help lower the U.S. trade deficit by $6 billion. 

The U.S. Department of Commerce said Thursday that the deficit created between exports and imports of U.S. goods and services fell to $46 billion in February from $52.5 billion in January. 

U.S. manufacturers and other firms exported $181.2 billion worth of goods and services in February, which was up $0.2 billion from the month before. In contrast, imports fell $6.3 billion to $227.2 billion, largely because U.S. companies imported fewer goods from China.

Trade is considered by many to be the new economic engine for both the nation and the state of Minnesota.

Local mayors, the governor, the Minnesota Trade Office and The Brookings Institution are all calling on medium companies here to pursue exporting opportunities. The goal, which mimics a White House initiative, is to double exports by 2017 in and to dramatically increase employment.

Minnesota currently has an unemployment rate of 5.7 percent and still has about 161,000 unemployment people actively looking for work. The national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent.


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