Consumer spending, roughly 2/3 of the US economy, declined in August:
Shoppers turned tightfisted in August, dropping sales at the nation’s retailers by 0.3 percent, providing fresh evidence of an erratic pace of consumer spending in recent months.
The decline in sales reported by the Commerce Department on Tuesday came after shoppers pushed sales up by a solid 0.8 percent in July as consumers’ willingness to spend revived after a June lull.
The decline in August was the largest since June’s 0.7 percent drop in retail sales.
[T]he decline in overall retail sales was slightly larger than the 0.1 percent dip that some analysts’ were forecasting.
Separately, the deficit in the broadest measure of trade swelled to a record high of $166.2 billion in the second quarter of this year, up from a $147.2 billion deficit registered in the first quarter, the department said in a second report.