Record job count backs retail sales and return of pre-pandemic vacancy
Dual factors lift sales. Accelerated hiring and lower prices at the gas pump aided spending in July, with core retail sales now up 29 percent relative to pre-pandemic, according to Marcus & Millichap.
The addition of 528,000 positions last month pushed the U.S. employment base beyond the February 2020 level, while the Consumer Price Index was unchanged on a month-over-month basis, aided by a 7.7 percent decrease in gas prices. These factors helped offset the impacts of historically low consumer sentiment and may be contributing to signs of improvement. Preliminary data for August reveals the index bumped up from July, a reading highlighted by improving sentiment among low- and middle-income consumers.
Core spending benefits from restaurant and bar performance. July hiring was highlighted by job creation at food service and drinking establishments, with 74,100 additional personnel. Most of these positions were at restaurants and bars, an indication that consumer