It was a surprise to many in the media, but U.S. retail sales rose an estimated 18 percent in May. With states starting to reopen, consumers were eager to consume. It was the biggest increase in retail sales since 1992, the Wall Street Journal reports.
The WSJ did note, however, that retail sales remain below what they were before the pandemic hit, unsurprisingly, and added that the U.S. economy "still has a long way to go to recover."
Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online, increased a seasonally adjusted 17.7% in May from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Data released separately pointed to other signs of life in May for an economy that went into a deep freeze in mid-March when the pandemic hit the U.S.
The Federal Reserve reported a moderate increase in May industrial production, including a pickup in manufacturing activity. A measure of builder confidence also improved.
The increase in retail sales was the biggest in records dating back to 1992. Still, retail spending remained below pre-pandemic levels in May, totaling $485.5 billion compared with $527.3 billion in February. From a year earlier, retail sales were down 6.1% in May. (Wall Street Journal)
But it is a noted improvement after three previous months of decline, so much so that even CNN acknowledged the "stronger than expected" sales.
"We've never seen a number like that," business correspondent Christine Romans reported.
As more than one viewer noted, it was probably a tough pill to swallow for a network that has made a habit of undermining the president by way of editorialized headlines and furious monologues since he took office.
This had to be tough for CNN to admit. pic.twitter.com/P8oxZlAsnq— CHIZ ???? (@CHIZMAGA) June 16, 2020
She looks like she is in physical pain... ??????— Marianna Milne (@QPatriotHempMom) June 16, 2020
She looked like it was killing her inside ????— armando (@mandosoria81) June 16, 2020
Whether or not Alisyn Camerota and Romans were pleased to share the news, it is good for Americans and an economy that has suffered the last few months during the coronavirus shutdown. President Trump has chosen to remain optimistic, repeatedly promising us that the economy will bounce back next year and be even "better" than before.