US retail sales rose more than expected in September as the economic recovery picked up
retail salesin September improved from the prior month as the nation contended with still-heightened coronavirus infection rates and a lack of new stimulus.
- Spending increased 1.9% last month, landing above the average economist estimate of 0.8%.
- The reading marks the fifth straight month of improvement and a sizeable increase in the pace of recovery after August's paltry 0.6% gain
Americans spent more than expected at retailers in September as the US
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The September report marks the fifth straight increase in retail spending after the metric plummeted in April. The gauge, along with other measures of consumer spending, showed a V-shaped trend through the summer as stimulus payments and expanded unemployment benefits boosted Americans' financial health.Yet just as fiscal relief programs expired and direct payments dried up, the pace of retail spending growth slowed. The gauge's trajectory now mirrors that seen with weekly jobless claims and purchasing managers' indexes, with an initial leap giving way to a crawl.
Still, Friday's reading marks a sizeable jump and suggests the consumer-spending rebound has some room to run.Those hoping for new stimulus to reinvigorate the recovery are likely to be disappointed in the near term. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doubled down on calls for a $500 billion measure on Thursday, adding that he wouldn't bring a larger bill to a vote. Democrats and the White House inched closer to a deal the same day, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying the Trump administration is willing to compromise over a provision for increased COVID-19 testing. President Donald Trump might push McConnell to accept a larger package, according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's deputy chief of staff. Still, a deal approved by Democrats and the White House would tout a price tag between $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion, a sum McConnell and other Senate Republicans have repeatedly balked at. With Democrats equally opposed to a piecemeal approach, chances of more fiscal support reaching the economy before 2021 are slim.Advertisement
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