The US Commerce Department reported on Thursday that retail sales in May rose 0.3 percent, much lower than analysts’ estimate of 0.6 percent gain and April’s revised 0.5 percent growth.
“The continued gains during the first two months of the second quarter suggests that consumers are continuing to hold their side of the bargain, building on the strong momentum at the end of the last quarter,” Millan Mulraine, a New York-based deputy chief economist at TD Securities, told Reuters.
Separately, the Labor Department announced that initial applications for unemployment insurance rose 4,000 to 317,000 in the week through June 7. Nonetheless, recent data shows that the US labor market continues to improve steadily.
Employers in the country absorbed 217,000 new workers in May, marking the fourth straight month that the figure has stayed above 200,000. This has seen all the 8.7 million jobs that were shed in the financial recession recouped back.
Most analysts expect the economic growth in the second quarter to range from 3 percent to 4 percent, riding on the back of the resurgent services and manufacturing sectors. The economy posted a 1 percent decline in the first quarter owing to the harsh winter weather.
Another data released by the Commerce Department on Wednesday showed that business inventories grew the most in the six months through April.
The core retail sales, which are adjusted for food, gasoline, automobiles and building materials, remained unchanged in May. The figures in April were readjusted to show an increase of 0.2 percent as opposed to the earlier estimate of a 0.1 percent decline. To register for a free 2-week subscription to ForexMinute Premium Plan, visit www.forexminute.com/newsletter.
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