July Retail Numbers: Solid Gains

By at 15 August, 2019, 12:00 pm

by Raymond J. Keating-

According to the latest retail sales numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau, the consumer is withstanding a barrage of uncertainty and market volatility.

Retail and food services sales showed a solid gain of 0.7 percent in July.

The glaring negative in July was autos, which were down by 0.6 percent. In fact, retail sales ex-autos grew by a robust 1.0 percent for the month.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Since March of this year, solid retail sales growth have pointed to consumers feeling good. That was reflected in the second quarter GDP data as well. The July retail sales data point to consumer optimism continuing into the first month of the third quarter.

Since consumers are followers, the decline in business investment in the second quarter and trouble on the trade front raise questions about continued strong growth in consumer spending in the coming months.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.

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