By Vicki Needham - 06/04/14 09:20 AM EDT
The nation’s trade deficit hit a two-year high in April as an increase in consumer demand pushed imports to a record level.
The gap expanded to $47.2 billion up 6.9 percent from March’s revised deficit of $44.2 billion, which was more than initially reported, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
The slowdown in U.S. exports — they were down 0.2 percent to $195.4 billion in April — in the past few months weighed on economic growth in the first three months of the year.
Imports increased 1.2 percent to a record-high $240.6 billion, up from $237.8 billion in March, as consumers purchased more computers and autos from overseas.
While economic growth contracted at a 1 percent annual rate in the first quarter, economists are estimating a much faster pace of expansion in the April-June quarter — upward of 4 percent.