Consumers spent less than expected in July as a pullback in auto sales helped cool an economy struggling to shake off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
Retail sales rose 1.2% for the month, against the expected increase of 2.3% from economists surveyed by Dow Jones.
The news wasn’t all a letdown, however: Excluding autos, the gain was 1.9%, ahead of the 1.2% estimate. A separate report also showed that worker productivity rose at its fastest pace in 11 years, up 7.3% annualized for the second quarter and well ahead of the 1.5% Reuters estimate.
Overall, it was the third straight monthly increase.
“Similar to the jobs report, retail sales stand in stark contrast to the idea that growth in July ‘stalled’ – when in fact it continued at a robust, if somewhat slower, pace,” Citigroup economist Andrew Hollenhorst said in a note.
Considered a bellwether for an economy that gets two-thirds of its activity from consumers, retail sales saw an 8.4% surge in June that included huge gains…