PROTECTING SMALL BUSINESS, PROMOTING ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Retail Sales Roared Back in March

By at 15 April, 2021, 9:45 am

by RAYMOND J. KEATING-

The latest report from the U.S. Census Bureau showed retail and food services sales roaring back in March, after a decline in February.

Retail and food services sales jumped by 9.8 percent in March. That came after a decline of 2.7 percent in February and another strong gain in January of 7.7. percent.

Retail sales had dropped in each of the last three months of 2020. Obviously, when the pandemic hit, retail sales plunged and then bounced back to a significant degree.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

In March 2021, retail sales were affected by growing confidence related to vaccinations and further opening of businesses. And government aid checks went out as well, which obviously had a major impact. Also, severe weather across much of the country explained a chunk of the decline in February sales.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Sales in March were up strongly for nearly all major retail business classifications, including the devastated food services and drinking places sector, which experienced at 13.6 percent increase in March.

Looking ahead, the health of the consumer, as measured by retail sales data, for example, will not depend on government aid, but instead, on vaccinations, opening of the economy, and sound policies that encourage entrepreneurship and investment, which in turn will drive economic, income and employment growth.

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

 

 

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