For a man who has said he's pivoted to the economy and jobs who knows how many times, this bit of news has to come as bad news for Obama. Via the Financial Times (emphasis added, but it's all bad news):
The US trade deficit increased more than expected in December on rising imports and higher oil prices, lifting the 2011 gap figure to the highest level since the financial crisis.Separately, consumer sentiment slumped in early February as concerns over falling incomes outweighed renewed optimism over jobs.Commerce department figures released on Friday showed the trade gap grew 2.7 per cent to $48.8bn, the highest level since June, from a revised $47.1bn in November. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the deficit to rise to $48.5bn in the final month of the year.December’s increase lifted the full-year trade gap 11.6 per cent to $558bn, the highest level in three years, with imports and exports both hitting record levels.Imports were up 13.8 per cent to $2.7tn, as purchases of foreign cars surged. Oil prices reached record highs last year, also lifting the cost of imported fuel. Meanwhile, exports grew 14.5 per cent to $2.1tn. President Barack Obama has set a goal of doubling exports by 2015.The trade gap with China, a closely watched and politically sensitive figure, rose to a record $295.5bn in 2011 as record imports outpaced export growth.
Why the emphasis? Because his goal is pretty much vaporware. How does he expect to double exports when he has done nothing, no worse than nothing, to help business in America? Except for Solyndra of course. His whole domestic agenda helps only to serve offshoring.