From the Overview: "The trade deficit is the numerical difference between a country's exports and imports of goods and services. The United States has experienced annual trade deficits during most of the post-WWII [World War Two] period. Some observers argue that the trade deficit costs U.S. jobs, is unsustainable, or reflects unfair trade practices by foreign competitors. Most economists contend this mischaracterizes the nature of the trade deficit and the role of trade in the economy. In general, most economists conclude the trade deficit stems largely from U.S. macroeconomic policies and an imbalance between saving and investment in the economy. Economists also conclude that trade creates both economic benefits and costs, but that the long-run net effect on the economy as a whole is positive. At the same time, some workers and firms may experience a disproportionate share of short-term adjustment costs."
CRS In Focus, IF10619
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/