This may not have been the “Recovery Summer” that the Obama administration had hoped for, but new government reports show the season did end on a positive note.
The Commerce Department announced Tuesday that retail sales increased by 0.4% in August, the largest increase in five months, after having increased by 0.3% the month before.
“An increase in retail sales in both July and August is encouraging and suggests that the economic recovery continues,” Commerce Secretary Gary Locke said in a press release. “While these data show that consumers are spending, the administration recognizes that Americans are still struggling.”
Retail sales last month were 0.3% higher in August of this year than they were in 2009.
In fact, as several publications have noted, much of this increase in consumer spending can be attributed to back-to-school purchases. Yet even with that in mind, retail sales increased by more than economists had expected.
On top of this, a separate report from Investor’s Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence found that consumer confidence is also on the rise, increasing by 3.9% in September from the previous month.
Taken together, the rise in confidence and spending offer a modest indication that consumers are feeling better about the economy and their own personal finances. Moreover, as Fox Business declared in a recent article, these data points also may ease concerns that this country is on the verge of diving into another recession.