Fleet Management

Latest Economic Numbers Disappointing

April 12, 2013

By Evan Lockridge

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Retail sales in March fell the most in nine months.
Retail sales in March fell the most in nine months.

Retail sales and consumer confidence have taken a downturn, but the reasons for it aren’t clear, while producer prices fell and business inventories have barely moved higher.

The U.S. Commerce Department reports retail sales in March fell the most in nine months, dropping 0,4% from the month before. The decline follows a 1% increase in February, the largest since June of last year.

The March performance failed to live up to a consensus estimate by economists who were predicting no change for the month.

This came as a new poll shows consumer confidence in April falling to a nine-month low. The Thompson Reuters/University of Michigan consumer sentiment index declined from a 78.6 reading last month to 72.3 this month. Like the retail sales figures, economists were expecting no change.

The news has led many analysts to cut their growth forecast for the U.S economy for this year. Barclays now predicts first quarter growth will be at an annual rate of 2.8% compared to an earlier expectation of a 3.2% growth rate.

There is a general feeling among economists that reinstating the full payroll tax the first of the year has slowed economic growth because consumers have less take-home pay. Conversely, it's worth noting retail sales in the first three months of the year have been volatile, making it difficult to determine whether this disappointing economic news is the result of the tax hike or other factors such as severe weather during the first quarter.

Two other separate government reports show producer prices fell 0.6% in March following a 0.7% gain in February, due mostly to a decline in energy costs. Business inventories moved just 0.1% higher in February, the weakest gain in nine months.


  1. 1. Matt [ April 16, 2013 @ 07:22AM ]

    The reason for the decline in consumer confidence is very clear to me, and it has everything to do with reinstating the full payroll tax. Our government seems to believe something that few thinking people do - we can spend ourselves out of crisis. Rather than cut expenses and live within our means as most people I know are attempting to do, the US government borrows, taxes and spends at an alarming rate.

  2. 2. JW MONDAK III [ August 19, 2013 @ 05:17AM ]

    Maybe the sheeple are starting to wake up!


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