As many states in the U.S. eased COVID-19 restrictions in May, consumer confidence and relative sales have sprung back to life over the past two months. New data on retail sales shows that the rebound is still going into the month of June, although at a slower pace than in May.
Retail sales bounced back another 7.5 percent for the month of June, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. While that’s good news for many businesses around the country, it’s much smaller than the pace set in May at 18.2 percent. Still, both May and June are welcome sights after historic sales losses the previous months, with March initially seeing an 8.2 percent dropoff and April continuing to a record 14.7 percent decline in total national retail sales.
Clothing purchases have made the largest comeback from their lows in March and April. Recovering from an unprecedented drop of 73.5 percent in sales for April, clothing and clothing accessory purchases have climbed 176.7 percent and 105.1 percent for May and June, respectively. Furniture sales also grew 32.5 percent in June, although much lower than May’s 79.1 percent growth. Electronics purchases were one of the few areas of retail that saw a larger growth in June, going from 36.5 percent in May to 37.4.
New jobless claims hit 1.3 million for the week ending on July 11, again marking the lowest they’ve been since the middle of March. However, they seem to have leveled off over the past few weeks with consistent jobless claims over 1 million, which may be the trend for the forseeable future – especially as states begin reinstating COVID-19 lockdowns due to a resurgence in cases.