WASHINGTON (AP) – Americans cut back their spending at stores and restaurants last month, a sign that they remain cautious despite robust job growth in the past year.
The Commerce Department says retail sales fell 0.3 percent in June, the weakest showing since February’s harsh winter weather kept shoppers indoors. That followed a robust 1 percent jump in May, though that was revised down from a previous estimate of 1.2 percent.
Economists had expected that consumers would rein in their spending after May’s large gain. But the reversal was much sharper than projected.
It suggests that consumers, still scarred by the Great Recession, are reluctant to spend freely even as unemployment has fallen and gas prices are about 90 cents cheaper than a year earlier.