Retail sales surge 9.8 percent in March, spurred by stimulus
Retail sales in March surged 9.8 percent as $1,400 stimulus checks were issued, the weather improved and vaccination rates increased.
The figure was well above the 6.1 percent economists expected, and was a return to form after major storms in February led to a 3 percent drop. That figure was revised upward to 2.7 percent.
The $619.1 billion in sales was a whopping 27.7 percent higher than last March, when the pandemic hit in earnest and lockdowns took hold across the country.
Paired with a stronger-than-expected showing in weekly jobless claims, which fell significantly to 576,000, stock market futures jumped, with a 150-point increase, or 0.5 percent, expected for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Thursday’s data are the latest signs of an economy waking up from an extended slumber, reflecting eased COVID-19 restrictions and a vaccination campaign that has already seen over a third of the population receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
It is also a boost for President Biden, who pushed aggressively to pass a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill last month to stimulate the economy and get people back to work.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.