Retail Spending Remains Totally Boring

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The Wall Street Journal reports that US shoppers “splurged” in July:

American shoppers gave the U.S. economy a solid boost in July, a counter to weakness in the manufacturing sector and Wall Street jitters about faltering growth….The robust report—the strongest reading since March and a sign that American consumers remain a source of fuel for the economy—is a positive signal for the U.S. amid warning signs of a global economic slowdown. U.S. stocks stabilized after release of the sales figures.

That’s good news, I suppose, but you might want to keep your excitement under control after you see July’s increase in context:

Retail spending has been almost eerily rock steady for years. There was a brief drop in late 2018 and then a brief uptick in the spring to get back on track, and that’s about it. Retail spending in July was precisely where you would have predicted back in 2015 if you just drew a straight line. It’s good that consumer spending didn’t plunge or anything, but July’s figures were hardly a sign of a US-led splurge.

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Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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