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Retail Rebound Rallies Stocks

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Published 06/17/2020

What happened?

Retail sales jumped 17.7% in May as the country began emerging from nationwide lockdowns.

May’s retail sales numbers marked the largest single-month increase since 1992. Prior to the May spike, U.S. retail spending had been in decline for three consecutive months. The upbeat report sent stocks rallying on Tuesday.

  • Are we there yet?Last month’s numbers marked a big improvement from April, but May’s overall retail spending figure of $486 billion is still well below pre-pandemic levels.
  • Long road ahead. Despite the promising data, some economists predict it could still take the U.S. economy years to recover from its pandemic-induced hibernation.
  • eCommerce express. eCommerce sales grew through the pandemic due to lockdown orders keeping shoppers indoors, and the trend continued in May with a 8.4% increase.

How does it affect my wallet?

Beyond expectations. The 17.7% increase topped expectations by a wide margin. A Wall Street Journal found economists only expected a 7.7% increase in May.

Grain of salt. Many parts of the U.S. remain partially locked down, and another outbreak could easily derail the reopenings. Stay diligent before you go “all-in” on the U.S. economic comeback.

  • Unemployment remains high, and it will be hard for the country to get back up to speed until people get back to work.

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