Consumers clench their wallets tighter in May

The spur in economic activity hit a small speed bump last month as the latest retail sales report shows evidence of a more timid shopper. May retail industry sales, which exclude automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, decreased 1.4 percent seasonally adjusted over April, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).

May retail sales released by the U.S. Commerce Department show total retail sales, which include non-general merchandise categories such as autos, gasoline stations and restaurants, decreased 1.2 percent seasonally adjusted over April.

“May retail sales results represent a reminder of the uncertainly that still exists in the economy,” NRF President and CEO Matt Shay, said in a press release. “The road to recovery is paved with caution as consumers remain concerned about key indicators such as employment and housing.”

Rosalind Wells, chief economist for NRF, stated, “Even though May sales were not as strong as previous months, we remain encouraged by the steady pace of the economic recovery. “Ultimately consumer momentum will be tied to our economy’s ability to add private sector jobs.”

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