Associated Press

Sep 15, 3:08 PM EDT

US retail sales slumped 0.3 percent in August, ending 4 months of gains


AP Photo
AP Photo/Danny Johnston

Multimedia
A district summary of the Beige Book
Measuring economic stress by county nationwide
Mall malaise: shoppers browse, but don't buy
Unemployment by the numbers
Family struggles with father's unemployment
Saying an affordable goodbye
Hard times hit small car dealer
Latest Economic News
US revises up April-June economic growth to 1.4 percent rate

Spain's central bank is warning that the political impasse in the country could have negative economic effects

Scotiabank has filed a lawsuit against Puerto Rico's government seeking repayment of a multimillion-dollar loan despite a debt moratorium imposed amid an economic crisis

Why the US economy isn't quite the weakling that Trump complains it is

The French government is presenting its 2017 budget, including 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in tax cuts that are expected to benefit 5 million low and middle-income households

A closely watched survey shows German consumer confidence has dropped slightly as Brexit fears and terror threats have dampened the mood

The Asian Development Bank says the economies of developing countries in Asia are holding up despite stubborn global headwinds, and that earlier forecasts that the countries as a group will grow 5.7 percent in 2016 and 2017 remain unchanged

Turkish financial markets have taken a battering after ratings agency Moody's downgraded the country's credit grade to junk status to account for a series of shocks to the economy that included a string of bombings and an attempted coup

The president of the European Central Bank says that both markets and the economy have been "resilient" in the wake of Britain's vote to leave the European Union

Business leaders in Britain are reacting with unease in the months following Britain's decision to leave the European Union

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. shoppers retreated in August, cutting back their spending at auto dealers, furnishers and building material stores to depress overall retail sales after four straight monthly gains.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales fell 0.3 percent in August, a tentative sign of caution for American consumers.

Rising incomes and job growth have trickled into consumer spending, supporting economic growth even as a strong dollar and low energy prices have hurt the U.S. industrial sector. Over the first eight months of the year, retail sales rose 2.9 percent compared with the same period in 2015.

"The underlying fundamentals for the consumer remain quite strong," said Stephen Stanley, chief economist at Amherst Pierpont. "That makes August's clunker of a report a little hard to explain."

Stanley noted that the decline in retail sales might reflect some pre-presidential election doldrums and that sales reports in the next few months will be critical to monitor.

Still, consumers clearly appeared to pause in August. Spending on building material and furniture dipped, even though home sales have been solid in recent months. Auto dealers reported declining sales ahead of the new model year. Sales also fell at gas stations, largely reflecting lower oil prices. Even online and catalog sales, a sector that usually posts strong gains, slipped last month.

Not all categories declined. Back-to-school shopping appeared to bolster sales of clothing. And spending at restaurants and grocery stores also improved.

The solid retail spending in prior months had defied anemic economic growth in the first half of 2016. Retail sales seemed to largely track a robust pace of hiring, which similarly went against the slowing pace of overall economic growth.

The unemployment rate remains a healthy 4.9 percent. And monthly job gains have been averaging averaged 232,000 since June, an indication that many employers expect growth to pick up in coming months.

As the job market has healed from the Great Recession, more Americans are finally enjoying solid income gains. The median household income jumped 5.2 percent last year to an inflation-adjusted level of $56,516, the Census Bureau said Tuesday. It was the largest annual increase since 1967, when the government started reporting the data.

Still, the durable but sluggish recovery from the recession means that incomes are still depressed. The median household still earns 1.6 percent less than it did in 2007 before the recession struck.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

 

 


 

 
 

2006 Reading Eagle Company, All Rights Reserved
Serving the Berks County community and surrounding areas for over 130 years!
This site contains links to other Internet sites.
These links are not endorsements of any products or services in such sites,
and no information in such site has been endorsed or approved by this site.