The U.S. trade deficit with China reached a record high in August. The gap between what China buys from U.S. companies and what the Chinese sell in the American market was $29 billion in August.
Thursday's report from the Commerce Department says the overall U.S. trade deficit with the world ($45.6 billion) was nearly unchanged during the month.
The trade gap with China comes at a politically sensitive time when the U.S. Senate has just passed a bill to impose tariffs on certain Chinese-made goods unless Beijing stops its alleged manipulation of its currency. The tariff bill would have to overcome opposition in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and be approved by the president before it could become law.
A weak Chinese currency gives Chinese goods a price advantage in the U.S. market, and raises the cost of American-made products to Chinese consumers.
A separate report from the Labor Department says the number of Americans signing up for unemployment compensation declined by 1,000 to a total of 404,000 last week. The U.S. unemployment rate, which is calculated from a separate study, is a relatively high 9.1 percent.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.