The shift reflects consumer stress, but it could help boost US manufacturers.
America's long-insatiable demand for imported goods is cooling. It's seen in everything from clothing, furniture, and even imported oil:
•At European Imports in Boston, demand for jewelry has plunged, thanks to a cooling economy, rising metal prices, and shifting exchange rates.
•The US expects oil use to decline this year by about 190,000 barrels a day – a drop that largely affects the volume of imports.
"That's one of the big stories of the past year, [although] somewhat hidden by the jump in oil prices," says David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York. "We've seen a definite slowing of imports while export growth has remained very strong."
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