Retail Sales Growth Picked Up In January After A Sharp Fall In December

By Robert Hughes Retail sales and food services rose 0.2 percent in January following a sharp 1.6 percent decline in December. Over the past year, they are up 2.3 percent, ahead of the 1.6 percent 12-month change through December (see chart). Retail sales and food services have been broadly trending higher since late 2015, when…

Income And Spending Gains Suggest Fourth-Quarter Growth Off To A Strong Start

By Robert Hughes Personal income rose 0.5 percent in October, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The gain in personal income was supported by a 0.3 percent increase in wages and salaries. Wages and salaries account for about half of personal income. Supplements to wages and salaries (primarily employer contributions to pension…