US trade deficit shrinks as exports grow

US trade deficit
Image caption The export rise has helped to narrow the trade gap

The US trade deficit narrowed for the third consecutive month in September on growing exports and shrinking imports.

The monthly deficit fell to $43.1bn (£27.1bn; 31.7bn euros), according to figures from the Commerce Department.

Exports hit their highest level this year, at $180.4bn, helped by exports of industrial goods and consumer goods. Imports totalled $223.5bn.

The politically sensitive trade deficit with China shrank to $28.1bn from $29bn as imports of Chinese goods fell.

Imports of consumer goods, including toys, clothing and cookware, declined in September, a month when retailers start getting ready for the holiday shopping season.

Slower job and income growth could be harming household spending on non-essential goods, it added, after disappointing unemployment figures were released last week.

Payrolls - the number of new jobs created in the US - rose by 80,000 in October, the slowest rise in four months.