While it may not seem like much, new numbers from the Commerce Department show a July retail sales increase nationally of 0.7 percent.
In real numbers, that 0.7 percent represents $519 billion in sales.
Even though the gain was small, it still showed an increase in June’s numbers, when the gain stood at 0.3 percent, prompting some economists to suggest that if a recession is imminent, it will more likely be seen in numbers reported later this year.
In a statement, Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist with the National Retail Federation, said the latest sales numbers are “consistent with elevated consumer sentiment, healthy household balance sheets, low inflation, and job gains.”
According to the financial analysis site Capital Economics, what is currently regarded as a resilient retail sales picture “should prevent the weakness in manufacturing and business investment from dragging the U.S. economy into recession any time soon.”
Overall consumer spending, making up more than two thirds of the current economy, according to a financial analysis published by the Reuters news service, “is being underpinned by the lowest unemployment rate in nearly half a century.”
Among the sales segments recording gains was the building material stores industry, which saw a 0.2 percent increase in July over June.
That’s an improvement over earlier this year when the building materials segment saw a 4.4 percent decline.
Among the largest retail sales gainers last month were grocery stores, electronics and appliances stores, and online retailers.
By Garry Boulard
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