The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

AP story section

November 21, 2013

Solid retail sales lift hopes

WASHINGTON, D.C. — An increase in shopping last month during the partial government shutdown suggests that the U.S. economy may be more resilient than some have feared.

Retail sales increased 0.4 percent in October, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, after being flat the previous month. That jump shows that many consumers remain willing to spend as the all-important holiday shopping season nears.

At the same time, other data released Wednesday point to an economy that’s still struggling to reach full health.

• Sales of existing homes fell 3.2 percent last month from September, the National Association of Realtors said. Higher mortgage rates and a shortage of homes on the market contributed to the drop-off. So did delays by potential homebuyers during the government shutdown.

• Businesses’ inventories increased by 0.6 percent in September, the Commerce Department said. This caused several economists to bump up their growth forecasts for the previous June-September quarter but to downgrade their expectations for the current quarter. JPMorgan Chase economist Daniel Silver called the possible upcoming decline in business stockpiles a “significant drag on growth.”

Analysts had speculated that retail sales would be unchanged in October, slowed by the 16-day partial government shutdown and by cheaper gasoline that would mean less money spent at the pump.

But what many consumers saved on gas they spent on other items. Excluding sales at service stations, retail spending rose 0.5 percent last month. Sales of furniture, electronics, appliances and clothing all showed solid gains.

Congress likely blunted some of the impact of the shutdown by guaranteeing back pay for 800,000 furloughed federal workers.

“There could be the possibility that all those furloughed workers knew they were going to be paid, so they may have taken the opportunity to take a mini-vacation and go shopping,” said Jennifer Lee, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets.

Text Only
AP story section
  • Iraq violence threatens OPEC's precarious balance NEW YORK (AP) -- The oil market has balanced out quite nicely for OPEC in recent years. Now, upheaval in Iraq shows that balance may be more precarious than it has seemed. Dramatic changes in oil production around the globe have offset each other ins

    June 13, 2014

  • Board of Trade Grain mixed, livestock mostly higher CHICAGO (AP) -- Grain futures were mixed Thursday in early trading on the Chicago Board of Trade. Wheat for July delivery was 1 cent higher at $5.9025 a bushel; July corn was 1.25 cents lower at $4.4075 a bushel; July oats were unchanged at $3.4625 a

    June 13, 2014

  • Health campaign among nation's costliest CHICAGO -- President Barack Obama's home state agreed to spend $33 million in federal money promoting his health care law, hiring a high-priced public relations firm for work that initially was mocked and spending far more per enrollee on television

    June 13, 2014

  • Some states roll back teacher tenure protections WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even before a judge's scathing ruling against California's teacher tenure policies, the once-sacred protections that make it harder to fire teachers already had been weakened in many states -- and even removed altogether in some pl

    June 13, 2014

  • Tigers' Scherzer outduels Sale CHICAGO -- Max Scherzer already has a Cy Young Award. Now he has a complete game. Scherzer tossed a three-hitter in his 179th career start for his first complete game and Victor Martinez hit his 16th homer to lead the Detroit Tigers to a 4-0 win over

    June 13, 2014

  • $40M casino for rural Iowa approved BURLINGTON (AP) -- The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission has voted 3-2 to grant a license for a $40 million casino development that would be located in rural central Iowa. Supporters of the Jefferson casino burst into applause during a meeting in Bur

    June 13, 2014

  • Principal case leads to two hearings RED OAK -- Two hearings are planned related to a southwest Iowa school district's plan to fire a high school principal. The Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil reported the effort to fire Red Oak High School Principal Jedd Sherman will be the subject of a

    June 13, 2014

  • U.S. split outgrows voting booth WASHINGTON (AP) -- Political polarization in America has broken out of the voting booth. A new survey from the Pew Research Center finds Americans are divided by ideology and partisanship not only when they cast ballots, but also in choosing where to

    June 13, 2014

  • Cubs' offense no help for Samardzija PITTSBURGH -- Jeff Samardzija has some advice his pitching brethren when it comes to facing streaking Andrew McCutchen. Don't. The way the Chicago Cubs' ace looks at it, trying to get the Pittsburgh Pirates' star out at the moment only opens yourself

    June 13, 2014

  • State to reopen Juvenile Home DES MOINES -- A district court judge on Wednesday ordered the state to reopen the Iowa Juvenile Home, telling Gov. Terry Branstad he cannot unilaterally change a law approved by the state Legislature. Judge Scott Rosenberg said the home in Toledo was

    February 6, 2014

AP Video
Facebook
National News