Bank of the West U.S. Outlook Report for August 15, 2014

  • by BPC Staff
  • on August 15, 2014
US Outlook Report: Fragile or Not Fragile? That is the Question

This week’s data were a mosaic of strong and sluggish economic indicators, still signaling some lingering weaknesses in the economy. On one hand, we have improving optimism coming from small business, robust industrial production growth, and greater-than-expected job openings and labor turnover (JOLTs) reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS); on the other hand, we saw muted retail sales for July that are vital for sustained economic growth in the future.

Unfortunately, hiring gains in June didn’t reinforce consumer spending in July, which stayed disappointingly unchanged, according to the latest retail sales report. Consumer spending comprises over two-thirds of the national GDP and is vital for the further recovery and growth of our economy. Consumers didn’t demonstrate much enthusiasm to buy last month. The weakest spending occurred at department stores, contracting 0.7 percent. In contrast, health and personal care products, clothing, and miscellaneous retailers like florists, used merchandise, and pet stores showed the biggest gains last month. With two months left in the quarter, we remain optimistic about the consumer’s ability to power this recovery forward.

To help you sort out the positives and negatives and what it means to the economic outlook, check out this week’s Bank of the West U.S. Outlook Report for August 15, 2014.