- Retail sales increase 0.7% in August
- Core retail sales surge 2.5%; July revised down
- Weekly jobless claims increase 20,000 to 332,000
WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – U.S. retail sales unexpectedly increased in August, likely boosted by back-to-school shopping and child tax credit payments from the government, which could temper expectations for a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the third quarter.
The surprise rebound in retail sales reported by the Commerce Department on Thursday defied slumping consumer confidence. Sales were driven by a surge in online purchases, which offset a continued decline at auto dealerships. But sales in July were much weaker than initially estimated.
Economists have been downgrading their gross domestic product estimates for the current quarter, citing plunging motor vehicle sales, which are the result of an acute inventory shortage, and a flare-up of COVID-19 infections fueled by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.