I nearly didn't get to a post today, so it's going to be a brief one. It's another Census Bureau dataset, this time from their Foreign Trade section. Specifically, I grabbed the U.S. International Trade in Goods and Services data, and plotted the monthly balance over the last 14 years. There's a lot more that could be done with this, but it's Friday, and I'm pretty sleepy. Like many charts that track the economic status of America in some way, the results of the recession appear to be visible here. However, another possibility in this case is that the glut of much cheaper natural gas pulled some energy-intensive manufacturing back to American industrial areas that had either been operating below capacity or simply idle. A third factor is the rise of consumer culture in emerging economies, China in particular, which could have served to stabilize the monthly imbalance in recent years between $30,000 and $50,000 (in millions).