News / Economy

    US Retail Sales Miss Expectations, Jobless Claims Rise

    FILE - A now hiring sign is posted in the window of a clothing store on June 6, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
    FILE - A now hiring sign is posted in the window of a clothing store on June 6, 2014 in San Francisco, California.
    Reuters
    U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in May and first-time applications for unemployment benefits increased last week, but that will probably do little to change views that the economy is regaining momentum.
     
    The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales gained 0.3 percent last month. While that was below economists' expectations for a 0.6 percent rise, April's retail sales were revised to show a 0.5 percent increase.
     
    Retail sales, which account for a third of consumer spending, had previously been reported have gained 0.1 percent in April.
     
    In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 317,000 for the week ended June 7.
     
    With job growth rising solidly in May and manufacturing and services industries expanding strongly, the retail and jobless claims reports probably will not cause too much anxiety.
     
    U.S. stock index futures edged lower on the data, while prices for U.S. Treasury debt rose.
     
    The economy added 217,000 jobs in May, the fourth straight month of job gains above 200,000. It has recouped all the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession. The unemployment rate held steady at a 5-1/2 year low of 6.3 percent.
     
    Economic growth in the second quarter is expected to top a 3.0 percent annual pace after contracting at a 1.0 percent rate in the January-March period.
     
    So-called core retail sales, which strip out automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, and correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, were unchanged last month.
     
    However, they were revised to show a 0.2 percent rise in April, instead of the previously reported 0.1 percent dip.
     
    In May, consumers bought automobiles, lifting receipts at auto dealerships 1.4 percent. Excluding autos, retail sales rose 0.1 percent in May.
     
    There were solid gains in sales at building materials and garden equipment stores, as well as receipts at non-store retailers, which include online sales. An increase in pump prices pushed up sales at gasoline stations.
     
    There were, however, marginal declines in receipts at sporting goods shops, electronics and appliances stores, as well as at clothing retailers and restaurants and bars.
     
    In another report, the Labor Department said import prices edged up 0.1 percent last month after falling 0.5 percent in April. In the 12 months through May, prices increased 0.4 percent, advancing for the first time since July.
     
    A sluggish global economy and slack in the domestic labor market is keeping inflation pressures muted, giving the Federal Reserve room to keep its ultra-easy monetary policy for a while.
     
    The U.S. central bank slashed overnight interest rates to a record low of zero to 0.25 percent in December 2008 and is not expected to start raising them before the second half of 2015.

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    Comments
         
    by: Mercedes Sweazy from: Jeffersonville IN
    June 12, 2014 1:41 PM
    Obama has nothing to do with this. this is retail, food, clothing, and luxury goods. Last time I checked no matter the president, we still need to eat, and wear clothes. I could have expected this because the largest number of college applicants are rolling into college in the summer and fall. it's expensive, families are going to cut back extraneous spending to send their children to school, pay for dorms, get necessities, and squeeze in that last vacation before the big goodbye.
    In Response

    by: Mercedes from: Sweazy
    June 15, 2014 12:30 AM
    No, there is no such thing as the "Obama Economy". If you ever took economics, you would know that the economy is a evolving, self-independent entity. It takes years and even decades for changes, little problems slowly gain traction and build up and up until as we call it, it becomes a "bubble", that then pops and crashes our economy. Every fourty or so years we always have a banking failure, typically made worse by some section of the economy that relied heavily upon the banks' ill-doings. Like with our recent recession, we had a "housing-bubble" that unfortunately built up and then popped, in George W. Bush's terms in office. The economy crashed, and now it simply takes time to get back to the boom it was. The Great Depression wasn't ended in Two president's terms. And neither will this recession. Unlike the democrats who blame Bush for this, or the Republican who blame Obama, it was never any of their faults. If you follow the trails you'll see that the hands of the Banking Industry was already deep into debt, and corruption, long before Bush or Obama. You should read a good book, "Too Big to Fail" written by Andrew Ross Sorkin. It details how this all came about in a very factual sense, without taking any stances for or against any president, nor political party, but instead delves into how the economy can be and is, led by those who have learned to manipulate the system...or as we know them as, Ordinary Citizens. These people wanted power and money, and got both, at the cost of economic stability and Bankruptcy country-wide.
    In Response

    by: Steve from: MD
    June 14, 2014 10:45 AM
    Yes this is the OBAMA ECONOMY. It's his LACK of any type of sane policy that is the cause. Wait till he picks up his phone and pen and grants amnesty to millions of illegals and we will see if the economy improves like it has over his failed presidency. Bet you it won't. WAKE UP, the idea that is the United States is OVER!!!! That's the legacy of progressives and OBAMA.

    by: Robert Martin from: Antioch, Tn.
    June 12, 2014 11:47 AM
    Did anyone expect anything different, Obama is still in office

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