U.S. Retail Sales Flat in July - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

U.S. Retail Sales Flat in July

Posted:
WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. retail sales were essentially flat in July, providing evidence that consumers have yet to shed their doubts about the economy despite recent job gains.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that seasonally adjusted retail sales were unchanged in July compared with the prior month. Total sales rose a statistically insignificant $161 million from $439.6 billion in June.

Spending dipped at auto dealers and department stores last month. The losses were offset by gains at grocery stores, gasoline stations, restaurants, clothiers and building material stores.

The figures suggest that Americans are hesitant to spend, which could limit growth for the economy. Retail sales are closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.

Retail sales have flat-lined even though employers have added more than 200,000 jobs a month for the past six months. Payrolls increased by 209,000 in July and 298,000 in June.

But those gains have yet to meaningfully boost wage growth above inflation, causing spending to be more restrained.

Retail sales have increased 3.7 percent over the past 12 months, but economists doubt that spending can grow much faster unless incomes increase.

"Consumers just don't have the cash flow to finance sustained gains above 4 percent," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

The weak sales in July mean that consumer spending is off to a slow start in the third quarter.

Consumer spending did pick up in the April-June quarter after a sluggish showing in the first three months of the year. It grew at a 2.5 percent annual pace, after increasing just 1.2 percent in the first quarter, which was the weakest reading in nearly three years. In a healthy economy spending growth is typically 3 percent or higher.

Americans are sending mixed signals about their willingness to spend. Consumer confidence jumped to its highest level in nearly seven years in July, according to the Conference Board. That suggests Americans may be more willing to open their wallets.

And auto sales grew 9 percent in July from a year earlier to 1.4 million, the best showing for July since 2006.

But purchases of large items like autos may be leaving many Americans with less money to spend on discretionary items like clothing and electronics. Rising grocery prices may have squeezed household budgets as well.

A separate measure of consumer sentiment by the University of Michigan, released last week, showed that confidence slipped last month.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Shellfish Harvest Restrictions Imposed After Wastewater Leak

    Shellfish Harvest Restrictions Imposed After Wastewater Leak

    Friday, July 21 2017 6:48 AM EDT2017-07-21 10:48:36 GMT
    Friday, July 21 2017 6:48 AM EDT2017-07-21 10:48:36 GMT
    Shellfish harvest in the Delaware Bay and inland rivers has been suspended for the second time this year because of wastewater discharge.More
    Shellfish harvest in the Delaware Bay and inland rivers has been suspended for the second time this year because of wastewater discharge.More
  • UPDATED: Lewes Man Arrested for Kidnapping and Assault

    Lewes Man Wanted for Alleged Assault, Kidnapping

    07/19/2017 17:17:00 -04:002017-07-19 21:17:00 GMT
    Friday, July 21 2017 12:05 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:05:03 GMT
    Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
  • Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"

    Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"

    Thursday, July 20 2017 9:15 PM EDT2017-07-21 01:15:39 GMT
    Thursday, July 20 2017 9:15 PM EDT2017-07-21 01:15:39 GMT
    Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"
    The town of Ocean City prepares for "College Beach Weekend". The three day event starts today and according to the events organizer, the town is expected to see an influx of about 40,000 college students.More
    The town of Ocean City prepares for "College Beach Weekend". The three day event starts today and according to the events organizer, the town is expected to see an influx of about 40,000 college students.More
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • UPDATED: Lewes Man Arrested for Kidnapping and Assault

    Lewes Man Wanted for Alleged Assault, Kidnapping

    07/19/2017 17:17:00 -04:002017-07-19 21:17:00 GMT
    Friday, July 21 2017 12:05 AM EDT2017-07-21 04:05:03 GMT
    Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.Delaware State Police are searching for Michael H. Debarr of Lewes.
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
    UPDATED: Delaware State Police found and arrested the Lewes man wanted for kidnapping and assault from earlier this week on Thursday.More
  • People of Cambridge Remember H. Rap Brown

    People of Cambridge Remember H. Rap Brown

    Thursday, July 20 2017 6:39 PM EDT2017-07-20 22:39:06 GMT
    Thursday, July 20 2017 6:39 PM EDT2017-07-20 22:39:06 GMT
    "The streets are yours. Take 'em." Those were the words that came from H. Rap Brown - a 1960s civil rights activist.More
    "The streets are yours. Take 'em." Those were the words that came from H. Rap Brown - a 1960s civil rights activist.More
  • Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"

    Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"

    Thursday, July 20 2017 9:15 PM EDT2017-07-21 01:15:39 GMT
    Thursday, July 20 2017 9:15 PM EDT2017-07-21 01:15:39 GMT
    Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"Ocean City Prepares For "College Beach Weekend"
    The town of Ocean City prepares for "College Beach Weekend". The three day event starts today and according to the events organizer, the town is expected to see an influx of about 40,000 college students.More
    The town of Ocean City prepares for "College Beach Weekend". The three day event starts today and according to the events organizer, the town is expected to see an influx of about 40,000 college students.More
Powered by Frankly

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices