US Retail Sales Jump, Jobless Claims Fall
Retailers in the U.S. posted only a modest increase in sales during to open the second quarter, as rising food and gas prices weigh on consumer spending, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Retailers in the U.S. posted only a modest increase in sales during to open the second quarter, as rising food and gas prices weigh on consumer spending, according to The Wall Street Journal. On Thursday, the Commerce Department reported that retail sales increased by 0.5% during April to reach $389.36 billion, falling just short of expectations for a 0.6% gain. Excluding automobiles, sales were up 0.6%, which was in-line with expectations. The trend of high gas prices limiting consumer spending that was recorded in the first quarter continued in April, with sales excluding gas stations recording just a 0.2% increase.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported that initial claims for unemployment insurance dropped by 44,000 in the week ending May 7 to 434,000, which was roughly equal with economists’ forecast, according to Bloomberg. The four-week average inched higher to 436,750, marking the highest level since November and by remaining above 400,000, indicates that job growth has slowed from earlier this year. A separate report from Bloomberg found that the consumer comfort index was 46.9 in the week ending May 8, which is a two-month low. The reading was lowered largely by surging oil prices, and was led by a decline in the gauge of consumers’ current personal finances.