January 17, 2022

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US retail sales fell in December

US retail sales fell in December

US retail sales in December slowed 1.9% after posting increases in the past two months, a result attributed to the omicron variable spread of the coronavirus, along with already existing factors such as a shortage of consumer goods.

The Commerce Department report released Friday also reflected this decline in other consumer sectors, such as restaurants, and was most pronounced in online sales, falling 8.7% from November.

Economists fear that these results will affect the outlook for robust growth for the economy in the fourth quarter of 2021.

December’s retail numbers contrast with the strong start of the Christmas sales season, when Americans were shopping in early October and November for fear of finding empty shelves due to year-round supply chain problems.

“Weakness in December may have more to do with timing than level,” Scott Hewitt, economist at Moody’s Analytics, told Reuters.

Hoyt noted that there is “strong growth in jobs and wages, even compared to before the pandemic, and money and credit are available to many consumers.”

In numbers, sales in supermarkets fell 7.0% and in restaurants 0.8%, but the total for December was 16.7% higher than that recorded in the same month of 2020, when sales began vaccinations.

Estimates of economic growth for the October-November 2021 quarter were at an annualized rate of 7.0% before Friday’s report. The economy grew 2.3% in the third quarter.

Economists expect economic growth in the United States last year to be the strongest since 1984.

[Con informaciĆ³n de AP y Reuters]

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