Retail sales increased by 1.2% in July, making it the third monthly increase in a row, though slower than the expected 2.1% increase. July’s increase follows June 8.4% increase and puts the seasonally adjusted total retail sales slightly above pre-COVID levels and 2.7% from a year earlier.
The second quarter was brutal for the U.K. economy, with GDP declining over 20% for an annualized rate of almost 60%. This makes it the worst-hit economy among rich nations, reflecting the consumer-driven nature of the U.K. economy as well as the relative delay and length of nationwide lockdowns. Italian and German economies declined by 12% and 10%, respectively.
Weekly initial jobless claims fell below the 1M mark for the first time since mid-March, showing a notable improvement since mid-July, but still at historically elevated levels.
The next relief bill is likely weeks away at this point as the Senate went on recess until September as talks on the next round of relief failed to produce a workable bill. The Senate is scheduled to come back to D.C. after Labor Day but could reconvene if there is progress on the impasse.