(Reuters) – The U.S. trade deficit in goods mushroomed to a record in November as imports surged and exports slipped.

The goods trade deficit widened last month by 17.5% to $97.8 billion from $83.2 billion in October, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday. That exceeds the previous record deficit set in September of $97 billion.

Goods exports declined 2.1%, while imports rose by 4.7%.

The report also showed wholesale inventories climbed 1.2% last month.

Retail inventories increased 2.0%.

Retail inventories, excluding autos, which go into the calculation of gross domestic product, edged up by 1.3%

The economy grew at a 2.3% annualized rate in the third quarter, a step-down from earlier in the year but activity has rebounded in the fourth quarter.

Trade has been a drag on gross domestic product growth for five straight quarters, while inventories added to output in the third quarter.

(Reporting by Dan Burns; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)