Let’s start with some good news. U.S.-manufactured goods exports reached an all-time high in 2014, surpassing $1.4 trillion for the first time, according to Trade Stats Express. Moreover, goods exports from manufacturers grew 1.9 percent in 2014, with exports to the top five markets higher for the year. At the same time, export growth decelerated from the 5.8 percent and 2.6 percent rates of 2012 and 2013, respectively. Sluggish growth abroad and a strengthened U.S. dollar continue to challenge demand. In December, the U.S. trade deficit widened to its highest level of 2014, and the average monthly deficit for the year exceeded that of 2013 ($42.09 billion per month versus $39.70 billion, respectively).