Retail sales were flat last month. Biggest problem was cars, which were down a percent and a half.
Gasoline purchases–not adjusted for price increases–rose nearly two percent, so we didn’t have a lot left over to grow spending in other categories. This data report suggests that the rate of economic growth is slowing a bit.
At the same time, producer prices were up moderately, which means they rose more than the Fed would like, but not at a frightening pace. Also, inventory-sales ratio for American business was unchanged.
Business strategy implications: Retailers and manufacturers of big-ticket, discretionary purchases should be a little nervous. Maybe I’m over-reading the tea leaves, but I think the pace of economic growth is slowing. A recession looks VERY unlikely, but a somewhat slower rate of growth seems to be in the cards.