March Retail Sales Shrink As Consumers Pull Back On Spending

by MR Magazine Staff

When the going gets tough, Americans go shopping. That’s unless would-be shoppers get rattled, which seemed to be the case in March, with retail sales undershooting forecasts. Some economists said the 0.3 percent decline in purchases raises concerns about U.S. economic growth, given that consumers are the biggest driver of spending. Still, many analysts believe the dip will prove temporary, so long as the labor market holds up and wages continue to gain traction. “The only thing that is really on track is consumer spending, and we got a bit of a soft number in that category today,” said Jim Russell, principal and portfolio manager at Bahl & Gaynor Investment Counsel. “We’re very heartened by the fact that the employment statistics remain good.” The jobs market has remained positive, with U.S. companies adding 215,000 employees in March after a 245,000 gain the previous. The jobless rate inched up to 5 percent as more Americans looked for work and paychecks expanded, with average hourly earnings up 7 cents to $25.43, after a two-cent decline in February. Read more at CBS News.