Americans are worried about the fast-spreading delta strain of the coronavirus, but not enough to stop them from spending money and keeping an economic recovery alive.
A poor August jobs report two weeks ago triggered fresh angst about the economy, especially after hiring in the leisure and hospitality sector fell to zero.
Delta appeared to force companies such as restaurants, hotels and theaters to freeze hiring plans as more Americans stayed away for fear of catching the virus. At the same time, a closely follow measure of consumer confidence fell to a 10-year low.
Yet the threat from delta appears to have been exaggerated. Sales at retailers surged in August and they were particularly strong if auto dealers are excluded.
Americans went out a bit less, it turned out, and didn’t spend as much on services. Restaurant receipts…