Economic News in Review Greenville SC
Here is last week’s Economic News in Review Greenville SC.
Retail sales enjoyed a solid jump, while lay-offs remained at levels that indicated a healthy job market. In the meantime, wholesalers expanded their inventories, which is a sign of anticipated growth.
Cash register receipts enjoyed a shot in the arm as retail and food services sales for May hit $444.9 billion, a healthy gain of 1.2 percent over the previous month, and 2.7 percent over May 2014’s receipts, the Census Bureau reported last week.
All told, 11 of the Census Bureau’s 13 main sales categories experienced growth, while health and personal stores dropped 0.3 percent and miscellaneous retails experienced flat activity. Some of the key growth areas were motor vehicle and parts dealers, which enjoyed a 2 percent sales increase; building material and garden supply stores, which grew 2.1 percent; gas stations, which saw a healthy 3.1 percent sale gain; and clothing and accessory stores, which grew 1.5 percent.
After seeing inactivity in the retail sector, analysts chalked up May’s expansion to a variety of factors, including weather and an improving employment scenario.
"With an improving job market and strong real wage gains, alongside savings from lower gas prices, there is every reason to believe that further strength in consumer spending lies ahead," Andrew Labelle, economist with TD Economics, wrote in a client statement.
Initial Jobless Claims
First-time claims for unemployment benefits filed by the newly laid-off during the week ending June 6, grew slightly to 279,000 claims, a gain of 2,000 claims over the prior week’s revised level of 277,000, according to last week’s report from the Employment and Training Administration. The small gain kept initial jobless claims well below the 300,000-claim threshold that signals a healthy job market.
“There’s not much going on in the way of layoffs, they remain low,” said Joshua Shapiro, Chief U.S. Economist for economic consulting firm Maria Fiorini Ramirez Inc., in an interview with Bloomberg. “The labor market is reasonably good. Consumer spending is getting support from the labor market clearly and from some income growth.”
The four week moving average, considered a more stable gauge of lay-off activity, grew to 278,750 claims, an increase of 3,750 claims from the preceding week's revised average of 275,000, which was still well within job market watchers’ comfort zone.
Wholesale inventories, an important economic metric, because it indicates wholesalers’ expectations for growth, grew to $576.9 billion at the end of April, marking a 0.4 percent increase over March and a 4.5 percent increase from April 2014, the Census Bureau reported last week. The market had only expected a 0.2 percent increase.
Key drivers were inventories of lumber and other construction materials, which grew 3.4 percent from March; paper and paper products, which grew 3.9 percent; inventories of apparel, piece goods, and notions, which gained 2.7 percent; and nondurable goods, which were up 0.8 percent.
Meanwhile, sales of wholesale items were a mixed bag, growing 1.6 percent from March to reach $448.3 billion, but were down 3.3 percent from April 2014. In any case, this put April’s wholesale inventories-to-sales ratio at 1.29, which was slightly off from April 2014’s ratio of 1.19.
Economic News in Review Greenville SC
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