Retail sales in the U.S. fell in May for a second month as slower employment and subdued wage gains damped demand, a sign the world’s largest economy is cooling.
The 0.2 percent decrease followed a similar decline in April that was previously reported as a gain, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. Last month’s drop matched the median forecast of 79 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Sales excluding automobiles slumped by the most in two years.
Retail sales excluding autos decreased 0.4 percent, the weakest performance since May 2010, today’s report showed. They were projected to be unchanged, the survey median showed.
At the same time, the drop in fuel costs is helping to shore up Americans’ finances and improve the buying climate, lifting confidence. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index to rise for the third consecutive week, figures showed on June 7.