Exports, retail sales improve
U.S. export volumes in October reached their highest level since June 2008, according to the American Association of Port Authorities, which cited U.S. Census data.
At the same the Retailer Industry Leaders Association said November was the fourth consecutive month in which non-auto retail sales increased in the United States.
U.S. exports rose 1.5 percent in October, after a 2.8 percent increase in September, and the 42.8 million tons of export cargo moved was the highest since well before the global financial crisis hit last fall. Import volume fell 8.4 percent in October by volume, a relative improvement from the 20.7 percent drop in September.
“October’s export numbers offer a particularly hopeful sign for job creation and an economic recovery,” said Kurt Nagle, AAPA president and chief executive officer. “While it’s clear the economy is still struggling, the prospects for an economic resurgence are definitely brighter than they were this summer, especially in terms of the volume of American-made goods being produced and sold overseas.”
As for retail sales, RILA said, 'High unemployment and job insecurity continues to dampen consumer spending as cost-conscious consumers seek out extreme value purchases.'
RILA said non-auto retail sales increased 1.2 percent over the previous month, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Retail sales are up by 2.8 percent over the past four months and up by more than 4 percent since December 2008.
'Increased consumer activity in November is a welcome sign for retailers who have adjusted promotions, pricing and product assortment to appeal to consumers in search of the best value,' said Casey Chroust, executive vice president for retail operations. 'Although consumers are spending less per visit, increased store traffic is driving higher overall sales.'
The categories with the biggest gains were electronics, appliance and building materials, with drops coming in clothing sales and a 'continued decline' in furniture and home furnishings sales.