THE BE YOUR OWN ECONOMIST ® BLOG
Today the Census Bureau issued a surprisingly strong retail-trade report (http://www.census.gov/marts/www/marts_current.html). May’s total was 1.0% ahead of April’s, and April’s figure was revised upward from an 0.2% drop to an 0.4% gain over March.
Sales at gasoline stations improved most dramatically because of the sharp rise in gasoline prices. But all categories of establishments showed gains except for miscellaneous retailers.
Households continue to spend despite a steep drop in consumer confidence, a steep loss in residential-real-estate wealth and declines in employment. Perhaps the economic stimulus package’s rebate checks are keeping everything afloat and consumer purchases will tumble when the rebates end. Maybe consumers will continue to spend despite their deteriorating circumstances and despite all the bad news.
© 2008 Michael B. Lehmann