POSITIVE SIGNS: Retail sales increased modestly in June and fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, the government said Thursday. Falling gas prices also pushed wholesale prices down for the first time in a year.
STILL WEAK: Excluding autos, retail sales were flat. And the drop in gas prices hasn't spurred shoppers to spend much more on other items. Spending on discretionary goods, like furniture and electronics, has fallen for three months.
STILL WAITING: Economists have been forecasting a pick-up in growth in the second half of the year. But the latest data revealed only faint signs of a turnaround.