Latest Economic Report Defies GOP Prediction As Retail Sales Rise

0
291

Even as Republicans continue opportunistically raising politically motivated complaints about high inflation — something President Biden and policy leaders around him are working to address, U.S. retail sales rose by 0.9 percent in April. The Associated Press describes this rate as “a solid increase that underscores Americans’ ability to keep ramping up spending even as inflation persists at nearly a 40-year high.”

Higher sales of cars and electronics alongside more purchases at restaurants helped culminate in the April surge in retail spending, according to the Commerce Department. Adjusting for inflation does not eliminate the gain in retail sales, the Associated Press notes. Paul Ashworth, who serves as chief U.S. economist at the consulting company Capital Economics, sounded particularly optimistic. “Never bet against the U.S. consumer has always been a good adage… Despite the surge in prices weighing on their purchasing power, the U.S. consumer now appears to be single-handedly keeping the global economy afloat,” Ashworth told clients.

Notably, new federal reporting also revealed a revised growth rate for March retail sales, which — although previously reported to have risen by 0.7 percent — were newly reported to have grown by 1.4 percent. The updated numbers mean spending also still rose in March after adjusting for inflation, signifying the relative strength of the economy — in stark contrast to the right-wing predictions that a Biden presidency would mean economic disaster for the country. Rising wages combined with falling unemployment rates have apparently contributed — no doubt in a big way — to the growth in consumer spending that’s been recorded. “In April, hourly pay for workers in restaurants, bars, hotels and entertainment industries — excluding managers — jumped 11% from a year earlier,” the Associated Press notes. “That’s above the 8.3% rate of inflation that month.” Figures covering broader portions of the economy still reveal growth — although in April, growth in average hourly earnings for workers other than managers didn’t outpace the inflation rate.

Recent revelations from the White House showed unemployment in 17 states was apparently at the lowest level ever recorded there, while across the most recent reporting period as of May 20, not a single state apparently saw its unemployment rate rise. Among other steps to boost the U.S. jobs market, the Biden administration has presided over more than six months of the implementation of the expansive infrastructure spending bill Biden signed into law last year. Per the White House, the infrastructure package is “already creating good-paying, union jobs, helping fight climate change, advancing environmental justice, boosting domestic manufacturing, strengthening critical links in our supply chains, and ultimately lowering costs for working families.” Over $110 billion in funding has apparently been announced by authorities for over 4,300 specific projects tied to over 3,200 communities throughout all 50 states, Washington D.C., and Puerto Rico.