For the third month in a row, consumer spending has increased, according to just-released Commerce Department statistics.
The report showed that spending nationally was up by 1.2 percent in July, prompting some analysts to believe that the trend line is suggestive of a long-range and slowly-developing economic recovery.
In actual dollars, the July numbers stood at $536 billion, compared with June’s $529 billion.
The report also indicated that sales were up by an even higher 1.7 percent over where they stood in the weeks of February, just as the Covid-19 outbreak made its presence known and the country entered an economic lockdown.
Notes the report: “Retail trade sales were up 0.8 percent from June 2020, and 5.8 percent above last year. Non-store retailers were up 24.7 percent from July 2019, while food and beverage stores were up 11.1 percent.”
The stronger spending numbers come at the same time that the Federal Reserve has issued a new report showing that the country’s industrial production was up by 3 percent, although that increase was smaller than June’s numbers which showed a 5.7 percent gain.
The Fed report additionally showed factory capacity output at 70.7 percent last month, up from 68.5 percent in June.
The most notable gains were in motor vehicles and parts production, which posted a 28.3 percent increase; while oil and gas well drilling was off 8 percent.
Gains in the construction market group for July showed a 1.4 percent gain over June; followed by a significantly larger 2.9 percent increase in May. The construction sector was hit with a 12 percent decline in April as the initial effects of the economic lockdown were being felt.
Continued the Fed report: “The indexes for all of the major market groups advanced in July, though by less than in June,” adding that “consumer energy products, business supplies, and defense and space equipment also posted gains of more than 2 percent.”
By Garry Boulard
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