• Thomas Parker

Consumer spending unchanged in January

Updated: Feb 17, 2020

The Department of Commerce on Friday reported that growth in consumer spending halted in January, with sales at clothing stores declining by the most since 2009. The report also revised core retail sales for December down to 0.2% from the 0.5% jump previously reported.

Retail sales excluding automobiles, gasoline, building materials, and food services were unchanged in January. Economists had forecast core retail sales rising 0.3% for the month.

Receipts at clothing stores declined 3.1%, the lowest since March of 2009. Overall retail sales rose 0.3% in January, however, as auto sales and building material sales rebounded. Service station sales and sales at electronics and appliance stores both fell by 0.5%.

The Federal Reserve kept interest rates steady last month and is expected to keep them on hold for some time. Fed Chair Jerome Powell told the Senate that the "economy is in a very good place, performing well."

Gross Domestic Product growth, an indicator of overall economic growth, was estimated to be 2.9% in 2018 and 2.3% in 2019.

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