Retail Sales Suggest U.S. Economic Slowdown

U.S. retail sales in March of this year were a seasonally adjusted $339.3 billion, three-tenths of a percentage point higher than they were in February, the U.S. Commerce Department reported on April 13.

However, March's increase was less than half the seven-tenths percent gain that economists generally expected. And since consumer spending accounts for about two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity, the March retail sales figure gives added credence to the notion that first-quarter inflation-adjusted U.S. GDP growth will be less than the nearly 4.5% annual rate that has been forecast.

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