clear
Sunday May 3rd, 2015 9:54AM

Retail sales rise a scant 0.1 percent in April

By The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. retail sales growth slowed in April, with consumers shopping less online and cutting back on purchases of furniture and electronics.

The Commerce Department said Tuesday that retail sales rose just 0.1 percent last month, after surging 1.5 percent in March following a harsh winter that had curtailed shopping.

Auto sales increased 0.6 percent in April, and purchases at clothing stores were up 1.2 percent. But most of those gains were offset by declines in spending at restaurants, online retailers and furniture and electronics stores. Excluding autos and gasoline, retail sales fell 0.1 percent last month.

The modest sales suggest that consumers continue to be cautious during the still-slow, nearly 5-year recovery. Higher sales would help drive faster overall economic growth because consumers account for about 70 percent of all economic activity.

But wages have not budged much during the recovery, and growth has struggled to eclipse 3 percent, the average annual gain after World War II.

The Commerce Department previously reported that the economy grew just 0.1 percent in the January-March quarter. That figure could slip into negative territory as the government revises it, according to several economists.

But the brutal winter depressed the economy during the first quarter, and economic indicators since then have pointed to stronger growth in the current April-June quarter. Many economists are looking for a rebound to growth of around 3 percent in the current quarter and similarly solid readings for the rest of the year.

Hiring has been strong for the past three months. Employers added 288,000 jobs in April, after gains of more than 200,000 in the previous two months. But average wages were flat in April.

The slow but steady improvement expected for this year has led the Federal Reserve to trim its monthly bond purchases. The Fed is buying $45 billion of bonds each month, down from $85 billion. The purchases were intended to reduce long-term interest rates in order to stimulate borrowing, spending and growth. But with the economy gaining strength, Fed officials believe that type of support is no longer needed.
© Copyright 2015 AccessNorthGa.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Judge denies motions to move, delay Tsarnaev trial
Lawyers for Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to overturn a judge's decision to not move his upcoming trial out of state.
10:02PM ( 4 months ago )
High court to adopt electronic filing of cases
The Supreme Court is belatedly developing an electronic filing system similar to those used in courts around the country, Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday in his annual end-of-year report.
7:57PM ( 4 months ago )
Storm brings snow, cold to West for New Year's
A blustery winter storm dumped snow and ice across the West on Wednesday, making driving treacherous in the mountains from California to the Rockies and forcing residents and party-goers in some usually sun-soaked cities to bundle up for a frosty New Year's.
5:19PM ( 4 months ago )
U.S. News
State DOT awards $48M contract for NE Ga. road project
The state Department of Transportation has awarded a $47.8 million contract for nine miles of work on a northeast Georgia road.
9:37AM ( 4 months ago )
Business News
Grass fire impacts rush hour traffic on 985
Rush hour traffic on I-985 was slowed by a grass fire Wednesay afternoon with one lane closed while firefighters fought the blaze.
10:19PM ( 4 months ago )
Hall County conviction, sentencing to be reviewed by SCOGA
The State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the appeal of a Hall County man when they reconvene in January.
2:37PM ( 4 months ago )
Maysville man dies from Banks County wreck
The Georgia State Patrol reports that alcohol and/or drugs were factors a single-vehicle wreck that claimed the life of a Maysville man in Banks County Tuesday night.
11:07AM ( 4 months ago )
Local/State News
Survey says Suwanee residents happier with their city than most
The results of the National Citizen Survey suggest that residents of Suwanee are happier with their city overall than most others across the country.
9:00AM ( 54 minutes ago )
Grand jury recommends charging Georgia officer in shooting
A grand jury has recommended criminal charges be considered against an Avondale Estates police officer who fatally shot a 20-year-old man, DeKalb County District Attorney Robert James said.
By Associated Press
8:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
Dust explosion damages Gainesville business
A dust fire was reported at about 6:15 p.m. Saturday evening at Pilgrim's Pride just off Bradford Street in Gainesville.
By Staff
7:00AM ( 2 hours ago )
Car crashes into Suwanee apartment complex
Residents from five units of a Suwanee apartment complex are being moved temporarily after a car crashed into their building.
9:17PM ( 12 hours ago )
VIDEO: Botanical Garden welcomes first visitors
The new Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville welcomed its first visitors Saturday on 168 acres of land just north of town on U.S. Highway 129.
By Jerry Gunn
2:28PM ( 19 hours ago )