For all the economic naysayers out there, some good news; consumers went shopping in September. Bigtime.
Retail sales in September came in stronger than expected, up 1.9% for the month. That’s more than double what economists had anticipated. Consumers bought cars, sporting goods, even clothing! This is the FIFTH STRAIGHT MONTH OF INCREASES IN CONSUMER SPENDING… a very good sign.
That said, it’s not perfect. We’re still reeling from this self-induced shutdown and while spending outlays on things like travel and concerts are still non-existent, this was still, an overall solid showing. Higher retail sales are important for the economy–especially in light of the recent jobs data.
Thursday’s jobless claims showed that new applications for unemployment benefits ticked higher in the last week suggesting a more challenging jobs market as we head into the cooler months. In addition, data today indicates that ndustrial production, a measurement of all activity at US factories, mines, and utilities, fell in September thereby snapping four straight months of growth. Industrial production output is still off 7.1% from where we were BEFORE the pandemic hit in February.
As such, why isn’t Washington working harder to come together on stimulus? I’m not a fan of stimulus because I worry it prevents the economy from reacting swiftly to situations and therefore prevents a speedy recovery however, politicians OUGHT to love stimulus. It’s a chance to hand out money to everyone they want to give money to! So, why not do it? The two sides (at $1.8 trillion and $2.2 trillion are not that far apart) and, yet – they can’t get over the hurdle.
Any idea why? Scroll down to comment.