The Commerce Department said that the trade gap surged 11.2% to a record $80.9 billion. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast an $80.5 billion deficit.
Exports tumbled 3.0% to $207.6 billion in September. Goods exports plunged 4.7% to $142.7 billion. The decline was led by industrial supplies, with crude oil exports decreasing $1.0 billion. Capital goods exports also fell. But consumer goods exports were the highest on record.
Imports rose 0.6% to a record $288.5 billion. Goods imports rose 0.8% to $240.9 billion, also a record high. Imports of industrial supplies and materials were the highest since April 2014. Capital goods imports set record highs, as did non-petroleum imports and imports of other goods.