WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. retail sales were essentially flat in July, providing evidence that consumers have yet to shed their doubts about the economy despite recent job gains.<br />
The Commerce Department says seasonally adjusted retail sales were unchanged in July compared with the prior month. Spending dipped at auto dealers and department stores. The losses were offset by gains at grocery stores, gasoline stations, restaurants, clothiers and building material stores.<br />
The figures suggest that Americans are hesitant to spend, which could limit growth for the economy. Retail sales are closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the economy.<br />
Retail spending has flat-lined even though employers have added more than 200,000 jobs a month for the past six months. But those gains have yet to boost wage growth significantly above inflation.
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.
Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president, released Wednesday a list of 11 potential Supreme Court justices he plans to vet to fill the seat of late Justice Antonin Scalia if he's elected to the White House.