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Weekly Economic Report 6.21.24

A weak retail sales report and poor home sales both show the stress that is increasingly apparent in consumer behavior – particularly at the lower income levels. Retail sales slumped -0.3%, after a downward revision to no growth in April. True, there was a rebound in February and March from the weather hole in January – but over the past five months nominal retail sales have been effectively flat. Over those same five months, prices for commodities (goods) as measured by the CPI have been roughly unchanged as well – implying real growth, like nominal, was nonexistent. Using an 0.2% increase in retail sales for June – the annual average – we get just a 1.1% annualized increase in real retail sales for the second quarter, after no change in the first. That compares with 4%+ growth in the second half of 2023.

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