The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

National News

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
National News
  • mama.jpg What we get wrong about millennials living at home

    If the media is to be believed, America is facing a major crisis. "Kids," some age 25, 26, or even 30 years old, are living out of their childhood bedrooms and basements at alarmingly high numbers. The hand-wringing overlooks one problem: It's all overblown.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Obamacare hit by ruling, but subsidies to continue

    A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    July 22, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 22, 2014

  • Obama gives protection to gay, transgender workers WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday gave employment protection to gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies, after being convinced by advocates of what he called the “irrefutable rightness of yo

    July 22, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hopkins to pay $190M after doc taped pelvic exams

    Johns Hopkins Health System will pay $190 million to more than 8,000 women whose bodies may have been videotaped or photographed by a gynecologist using a pen-like camera during pelvic exams.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lawmaker: Texas to send 1,000 guardsmen to border

    Gov. Rick Perry, a vocal critic of the White House's response to the surge of children and families entering the U.S. illegally, plans to deploy as many as 1,000 National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border, a local lawmaker confirmed Monday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Sparring justices find little disagreement at the opera

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg revealed a different view of U.S. Supreme Court on Saturday when she described about her passion for opera, one she shares with Justice Antonin Scalia.

    July 21, 2014

  • Second chance? Perry in Iowa again courting voters

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry is visiting Iowa for the fourth time in eight months, hoping for a second chance to win over Republican voters who delivered him a stinging caucus loss when he ran for president two years ago.

    July 21, 2014

  • 10 things to know for today

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

     

    July 21, 2014

AP Video
Facebook