U.S. retail sales declined further in December as renewed procedures to slow the spread of COVID-19 undercut spending at restaurants and reduced traffic to shopping malls, the latest sign the economy lost significant speed at the end of 2020. Retail sales dropped 0.7% last month, the Commerce Department said on Friday. Data for November was revised down to reveal sales decreasing 1.4% rather of 1.1% as previously reported. Economic experts polled by Reuters had anticipated retail sales unchanged in December.Excluding cars, gas, constructing products and food services, retail sales toppled 1.9% last month after a downwardly revised 1.1% decrease in November. These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gdp. They were previously estimated to have actually reduced by 0.5% in November.The report followed in the wake of news last week that the economy shed tasks in December for the very first time in 8 months. Further task losses are most likely in January as brand-new applications for welfare rose in the very first week of the month. The information remain in line with economists expectations for a sharp slowdown in economic development in the fourth quarter.Rampant coronavirus infections and hold-ups by the federal government to authorize more money to help services and the jobless lag the loss of financial momentum. The federal government offered almost $900 billion in additional pandemic relief at the end of December.President-elect Joe Biden on Thursday unveiled a $1.9 trillion fiscal stimulus strategy that consists of reinforcing the response to the virus and direct relief to homes and little services. The proposed extra relief and speeding up the implementation of vaccines are expected to improve costs and the economy in the second half of 2021. Growth quotes for the 4th quarter are around a 5% annualized rate, largely reflecting a stock build.The economy grew at a 33.4% rate in the third quarter after contracting at a 31.4% speed in the April-June quarter, the deepest because the federal government began keeping records in 1947.
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