Shows & Panels
Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- American Readiness: Renewable Power and Efficiency Technologies
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal News Radio's National Cyber Security Awareness Month Special Panel Discussion
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- Government Perspectives on Mobility and the Cloud
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- The New Generation of Database
- Reimagining the Next Generation of Government
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
US retail sales inch up, but holiday spending weak
Tuesday - 1/14/2014, 7:00pm EST
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Americans bought more clothes in December, shopped more frequently online and ate out more often, providing a boost to economic growth at the end of the year. But sales at most traditional stores declined, as the holiday shopping season ended on a lackluster note.
Retail sales rose 0.2 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. That follows strong gains in October and November, helped by healthy auto sales.
In December, car and truck sales fell 1.8 percent due to colder weather and Black Friday discounts that moved some sales into November. The decline held back overall retail spending that did show some signs of underlying strength.
Excluding spending on autos, gas and building supplies, retail sales rose a solid 0.7 percent. Economists say this figure is a better proxy for confidence in the economy, because it does not include the most volatile categories.
The report showed less spending at traditional holiday outlets. But the December gain should be enough to help generate 3 percent annualized growth in the final three months of 2013, said Paul Dales, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics.
"If we're right in thinking that the underlying trend in jobs growth is still improving, households will continue to spend more freely in 2014," Dales said.
Many Americans are changing the way they shop during the holidays. Online sales grew 1.4 percent in December after a 1.6 percent gain in November. Consumers also spent more at clothing stores, grocers and restaurants last month.
Still, consumers spent less at the types of stores usually measured for holiday shopping. Furniture and electronics purchases fell last month. And sales at department stores fell a whopping 0.7 percent in December -- and 3.3 percent for the full year.
For all of 2013, total retail sales rose 4.2 percent, the weakest gain in four years.
The retail sales report is the first look at last month's consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of all economic activity. Businesses had been anticipating that consumer spending would perk up to propel growth going forward.
Gains in consumer spending during October and November pointed toward strong growth to close out the year, as did increases in factory activity.
Auto purchases surged until December, when they were basically flat compared with a year ago. Still, for the year, car sales rose 8 percent to 15.6 million. That's the best pace since 2007, before the Great Recession began.
The modest gains in retail sales last month comes after the government said Friday that job gains slowed in December. Stronger higher builds consumer confidence and leads to more retail spending.
Just 74,000 jobs were added in December, the Labor Department said. The unemployment rate fell to 6.7 percent from 7 percent, largely because 347,000 unemployed Americans dropped out of the workforce. The economy had been creating an average of 213,500 jobs a month from August to November.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.