This is the only record the U.S. economy accomplishes anymore. Record debt and deficits:
The U.S. trade deficit surged to the widest imbalance in more than three years in January as imports hit an all-time high, reflecting big demand for foreign-made cars, computers and food products.
U.S. exports to Europe fell, raising concerns that the debt crisis in that region could dampen U.S. economic growth.
The Commerce Department says the January trade deficit widened to $52.6 billion, the biggest gap since October 2008. Imports rose 2.1% to a record $233.4 billion. Exports were up a smaller 1.4% to $180.8 billion. Exports to Europe fell 7.5%.
If you wonder what the relevance of this story is, trade deficits means the loss of American jobs:
The U.S.-China trade deficit has eliminated or displaced nearly 2.8 million U.S. jobs since 2001, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) briefing paper finds. Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.8 million jobs between 2001 and 2010 by Robert Scott, EPI’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, finds that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico suffered jobs lost or displaced as a result of the growing U.S.-China trade deficit.
[...]Of the nearly 2.8 million jobs lost or displaced, 1.9 million of them were in manufacturing. These jobs represent nearly half of all U.S. manufacturing jobs lost between 2001 and 2010. The largest share of manufacturing jobs lost or displaced were in computer and electronic parts, at 909,400 jobs, or 32% of all jobs lost or displaced. Other hard-hit sectors of the manufacturing industry were apparel and accessories, textile fabrics and products, fabricated metal products, plastic and rubber products and motor vehicles and parts. Service industries, including administrative, support and waste management services experienced significant job displacement.
Increases in U.S. exports tend to create jobs in the United States, and increases in imports tend to lead to job loss. Thus, a growing trade deficit signifies growing job loss. The trade deficit with China is exacerbated by the currency manipulation. Because China has pegged its currency to the U.S. dollar instead of allowing it to fluctuate freely, the yuan has remained artificially low, effectively subsidizing Chinese exports and artificially raising the cost of U.S. exports. U.S. goods are less competitive in China and in countries where U.S. exports compete with those from China.
The impact of the trade deficit with China extends beyond U.S. jobs lost or displaced. Competition with China and countries like it has resulted in lower wages and less bargaining power for U.S. workers in manufacturing and for all workers with less than a four-year college degree.