business news in context, analysis with attitude

The US Department of Commerce said yesterday that retail spending dropped 1.1 percent in July compared to the month before, "amid cooling purchases of goods and signs of some pullback in consumer demand as U.S. Covid-19 cases tied to the Delta variant rose," the Wall Street Journal reports.

The numbers include purchases at stores, at restaurants and online, as well as automobiles - the latter category being the one that, because of supply chain issues that hurt supply, really dragged down the overall number.

Without autos included, retail sales for the month were down 0.4 percent.

Restaurants and bars had a good month, with sales rising 1.7 percent.

Online sales were down 3.1 percent.

The Journal writes that "retail sales rose briskly earlier in the summer, as shoppers boosted spending on services, such as dining out and traveling, and away from goods. That shift occurred as more Americans became vaccinated and state and local governments eliminated many Covid-19-related restrictions, some of which have now been reimposed with the recent rise in coronavirus cases."

KC's View:

The numbers will continue to go up as long as each of us behaves as if the future of the American economy depends on our being responsible.  If we all do that, we'll be just fine - there may be some blips in monthly numbers, but we'll be headed in the right direction because of a shared sense of economic patriotism (for lack of a better term).

But if we don't do that … well, we may be screwed.