Retail sales rebounded in May as states eased coronavirus-induced lockdown measures, allowing retail stores to regain more ground than analysts expected, according to Department of Commerce data.
Retail sales jumped 17.7% in May, effectively doubling expectations and marking the biggest single-month gains in data a going back more than 20 years, according to a Commerce Department report released Tuesday. A Bloomberg News survey of economists had anticipated 8.4% gains in May as COVID-19-related measures melted away.
COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China, in late December before going global, killing a reported 116,000 people in the United States. Governors and mayors across the United States instituted strict stay-at-home orders to slow the pandemic.
There was also a 44.1% increase in motor vehicle sales, as well as a 29.1% jump in restaurant receipts, data show, which account for more than half of the overall increase in retail sales, suggesting the economy is bouncing back faster than anticipated.
Jobs are coming back as well. Payroll employment rose by 2.5 million in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics report published June 5, and the number of unemployed dropped by 2.1 million to a total 21.0 million.
President Donald Trump touted news of the retail numbers on Twitter Tuesday morning.
“Wow! May retail sales show biggest one-month increase of ALL TIME, up 17.7%. Far bigger than projected. Looks like a BIG DAY FOR THE STOCK MARKET, AND JOBS!” he wrote.
“The market is up very big. And I think you’re going to have a ‘V’ — I think it’s going to be terrific,” the president told reporters in May at the White House.
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