American exports declined 5% in 2015, marking the first year since the Great Recession that exports fell in the US.
Part of that decline was caused by a slowing global economy, which has caused less demand for American cars and electronics.
The biggest cause for the reduction was a rapidly strengthening US dollar, which made American goods more expensive for foreign buyers. It also made those international sales less valuable when they were converted back to dollars. The US dollar spiked by 9% in 2015 alone. The Euro is now worth just $1.11 on the US dollar as it reached a 13-year high.
U.S. imports are also down, falling 3% last year. That decline was based more on a dramatic decline in the price of the oil the US imported.
With slowing exports the US economy grew by just 2.4% in 2015. If exports had remained flat, the economy would have experienced a growth rate of 3.1%.
In brighter spots of the US economy, consumer spending was up 3% and residential construction reached nearly a 9% increase.
There may be some good news for international sales in 2016. The dollar is already down 2% on the year.