Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
- Retail Sales
After slipping down 0.5 percent in June, retail sales have now fallen for three consecutive months (its worst losing streak since mid-2008. The recent weakness over the past three month has pulled the series’ 12-month growth rate down 2.5 percentage points to 3.8 percent. Unfortunately, that softness has been fairly widespread. Across broad sales categories, only four out of 13 industries posted sales increases, and the largest increase was 0.5 percent (belonging to miscellaneous and nonstore retailers). In May, six of 13 broad components posting increases. Auto sales fell 0.7 percent in June, nearly reversing a 0.9 percent increase in May. Sales at gasoline stations (down 1.8 percent) were the steepest decline in June (and likely price-related), though sales at building material, garden equipment, and supplies dealers (down 1.6 percent) and at sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (1.6 percent) also fell precipitously. “Core” retail sales—a cleaner measure of consumer spending trajectory—which excludes autos, building supplies, and gas stations decreased 0.1 percent during the month, and as been trending down since the beginning of the year. Its near-term (three-month annualized) growth rate fell to 0.7 percent in June, its first foray into negative territory since May 2009. The series’ 12-month growth rate is still up 3.7 percent, though that's down sharply from where it was at the beginning of the year (6.1 percent).