Advanced Technology Deficit Widens in 3rd Quarter

Here’s more bad news for jobs.

According to this morning’s trade report, the advanced technology trade deficit widened to $18.2 billion in the third quarter, up from $12.9 billion in the second quarter of 2009 (advanced technology products include 10 categories, such as information and communications, biotechnology, and aerospace).

The third quarter ATP deficit, at $18.2 billion, was just below the $18.9 billion of a year ago. I believe that was the record, though, I’m not 100% sure.

Nevertheless, the widening of the ATP trade deficit is not good news for U.S. production jobs, since it means that even as demand for innovative products recovers, the production benefits are primarily being felt overseas. Employment in the computer and electronic products industry, for example, fell at a 10% annual rate in the third quarter.

What about royalties and license fees to produce the new technology—doesn’t the U.S. benefit from that? The total trade surplus in royalties and license fees was $14.4 billion in the third quarter, smaller in magnitude than the advanced trade deficit. Given that royalties and license fees include movies and tv shows as well, it’s likely that the amount of revenue from licensing the overseas production of advanced technology products was actually substantially less.

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