While the unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 8 percent, some good news emerged from the Commerce Department today. From the Wall Street Journal:
Retail and food-service sales increased 0.8% last month to a seasonally adjusted $403.93 billion, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That was the biggest jump since February.Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires expected a 0.2% rise.Retail sales are an important component of consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of demand in the economy.
Meanwhile, the beginnings of the energy revolution are already being felt: energy prices fell for the fifth straight month, mostly driven by a 3.1 percent drop in gas prices. On the other hand, sporadic positive data over the past few years hasn’t assuaged concerns that a double-dip recession is looming over the horizon.Is the economy looking a little better? Voters’ answers to that question might well decide the election.