US Retail Sales Increased 17.7% In May After Biggest Decline In History

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Retail sales in the US increased by more than 17 per cent in May, according to figures released by the Commerce Department.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department released its monthly report, which showed that retail sales increased by 17.7 per cent in May compared to April.

Retail sales across the US in May totalled $485.5bn (£433.2bn), compared to $413bn (£368.5bn) in the month previous

The decline in April was the biggest in US history, at 16.4 per cent, but in the report on Tuesday, the Commerce Department, revised the figure, to a still record, 14.7 per cent.

The report had an impact on the stock market, and the Dow Futures rose by more than 800 points, following its release on Tuesday.

Despite the increase in sales, the retail sector is still affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and figures are 6.1 per cent below what they were in May 2019, according to UPI.

The outlet reported that the May figures represented the largest monthly spike in retail sales in US history, topping the previous record set in the month following the 9/11 attacks.

However, retail sales from between March and June, amid the height of social distancing measures and shop closures, was down 10.5 per cent from 2019.

President Donald Trump tweeted about the news: “Wow! May retail sales show biggest one-month increase of ALL TIME, up 17.7%.

“Far bigger than projected. Looks like a BIG DAY FOR THE STOCK MARKET, AND JOBS!” he tweeted.

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) predicted that the US economy’s gross domestic product (GDP) could be $15.7 trillion (£12.5 trillion) smaller over the next ten years, than previously predicted.

This is due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, which could cause long-term problems, despite states easing lockdown measures, and shops reopening all across the country.

Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services, told ABC that the increase in sales in May, might not be an indicator of what is to come over the next few months.

“While the big increase in retail sales in May is encouraging, there is still a huge amount of uncertainty about the strength of the rebound,” Mr Faucher told the outlet.

“It will depend on a number of factors, including the path of the coronavirus, how willing consumers are to be in public, how many businesses manage to stay open and how many laid-off workers they rehire, and whether the federal government provides additional stimulus.”

— The Independent

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