Trade deficit falls, but signal is mixed

Well, at least one part of the U.S. economy is attempting to right itself: the trade deficit, which continued to narrow in January to $36.0 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department announced Friday.

That's the smallest monthly trade gap since October 2002. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected a $38.1 billion deficit. It's also the trade deficit's sixth straight monthly decline -- a macro trend that will no doubt gladden the hearts of commerce officials. The U.S. recorded a $39.9 billion trade gap in December 2008.