Steady Economic Growth Continues
This morning’s retail sales numbers underscore a continued pattern of slow but steady economic growth.
The Commerce Department reported that retail sales were up 0.6 percent in July, and that the two previous months were revised upward. That would suggest that the second quarter Gross Domestic Product could also be revised upward, said Bob Hughes, senior research fellow at the American Institute for Economic Research.
Hughes crunched some numbers from the retail sales report to illustrate why it was a generally positive sign. Discretionary spending was up 0.8 percent in July. That number includes automobiles, which are selling briskly, he noted. Removing autos, discretionary spending was up 0.4 percent, which is still a good number, he said.
Also on Thursday, jobless claims came in at 274,000, up 5,000 from the week before. But the four-week average was 266,250. For nine months now, jobless claims have more or less stayed below 300,000, a good sign for the economy, he said.
“The overall signals are positive from this data, but it’s not showing any boom, sort of in line with the ongoing modest expansion,” Hughes said.