Economy sends mixed signals
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 5/15/20, 12:08 pm
U.S. retail sales and manufacturing output plummeted to record lows in April. The COVID-19-induced slump caused clothing store sales to contract by 79 percent. After households cleared supermarket shelves of food, toilet paper, and other necessities in March, grocery sales fell by 13 percent in April, according to a report released on Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department. The industrial sector of the economy was working at 65 percent of its capacity last month, the Federal Reserve’s Division of Consumer and Community Affairs reported.
Is there any good news? About 133,000 auto workers plan to pour back into plants in the next week. A survey of households by the Federal Reserve showed that 9 out of 10 furloughed or laid-off workers in March expect to return to the same employer or already have. And the Financial Times reported that Chinese manufacturing grew by 3.9 percent in April, heralding similar rebounds in countries still battling the pandemic.
Dig deeper: Listen to Nick Eicher and financial analyst David Bahnsen discuss economic news and trends in the Monday Moneybeat on The World and Everything in It.
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