Surprising December Retail Sales Leave Economists Scratching Their Heads

February 15, 2019

Retail Sales for December plunged unexpectedly, leading some economists to question the data. Sales for December dropped 1.2 percent, a far cry from the 0.2 percent increase that economists had expected. December’s sales were the largest decline since 2009, when the country was still reeling from the financial crisis. The data was delayed because of the government shutdown. The numbers stand in stark contrast to the strong employment numbers from the same period, leading some economists to wonder if a large revision may be coming. In the meantime, however, the report will add fuel to the fear of a coming recession, and has resulted in economists cutting their estimates for GDP growth.

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