June 16, 2020
The U.S. economy got some positive news June 16 when the Treasury Department disclosed retail sales in May increased a record 17.7% from the prior month, compared with a 14.7% month-to-month decline in April and an 8.3% drop in March.
While it was the largest increase in monthly retail sales ever, sales are still down 8% from February and 6.1% from May 2019.
The news saw the Dow rally by 800 points and President Trump send out a Tweet praising the stock market and jobs growth.
With economic shutdowns easing, consumers armed with $1,200 stimulus money (or enhanced unemployment benefits) are slowly heading back to stores and restaurants with their masks.
The food and beverage business saw a 29.1% spike in May revenue. Clothing and accessories sales jumped 188.8%, while media (books, entertainment), hobby and sporting goods increased 88.2%.
“I think a lot of it is lockdown fatigue,” Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P Global, told The New York Times. “I would caution not to be fooled by this large [retail] gain. We still have a long way to go in repairing the economy.”