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Strong Job Market Buoys August Retail Sales

Sep 18, 2022 5:57 AM   By Leah Meirovich
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US retail sales rose gently in August as wage increases and a higher employment rate outweighed the negative impact of inflation.

Revenue grew 0.3% from the previous month, compared with a 0.4% decrease in July, according to data the US Census Bureau released last week. August sales climbed 9% from a year earlier.

“Household spending remains steady even as costs continue to rise,” said National Retail Federation (NRF) chief economist Jack Kleinhenz. “Consumers continuing to spend more each month points to the benefits of strong job and wage growth and their use of pandemic savings to help handle persistent elevated prices.”

In August, sales advanced year on year in eight of the nine categories the US Census Bureau monitors. The clothing and accessories segment — which includes jewelry — was up 3.7%. Revenues for the category also rose 0.4% from July. Online sales across all products increased 12% year on year, but they were down 0.7% compared to the previous month.

Revenue for the first eight months of the year grew 7.5%, according to the NRF’s calculations, meaning they were on track with the federation’s forecast that retail sales for 2022 would grow between 6% and 8% relative to 2021.

However, the NRF is concerned about a possible railway strike that could affect holiday supply, as well as the toll of continued inflation.

“Consumers are showing their toughness, but they have limited options and cannot continue if prices do not begin to soften,” Kleinhenz added. “This retail sales report comes amid mixed signals from the broader economy that show the headwinds against the consumer are strengthening.”

Image: Women shopping at a US mall. (Shutterstock)
Tags: Jack Kleinhenz, Jewelry, Leah Meirovich, National Retail Federation, NRF, US Census Bureau, US retail sales
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