Retail Sales Surge Nearly 10% in March
Retail sales surged 9.8% in March as a fresh batch of stimulus checks fuels consumer spending. Other factors contributing to the economic recovery include the re-opening of businesses, better jobless claims, vaccination efforts, and warmer weather.
According to the Commerce Department’s report, the latest gains are being led by sporting goods, clothing, bars, and restaurants. The 9.8% spike even exceeded estimates by Dow Jones of a 6.1% gain.
The $1,400 stimulus checks started making their way to American households in mid-March. As part of the Covid-19 recovery program, the federal government passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, with $1,400 stimulus checks driving the rise in spending following extensive closures and lockdowns. People are once again thinking about getting order checks.
The software firm Cortera reported that spending was up 14.5% in March compared to last year.
Mark Zandi, a chief economist from Moody Analytics, had previously said that spending increased across most retail segments, with May expected to be another record-high month.
Bank of America also showed a credit card spending spike in March with a 67% increase over a seven-day period that ended on April 3. Economic tides have improved with the consumer confidence index increasing to 109.7 in March, the most substantial monthly gain since April 2003. Consumers managed to increase spending and savings, with rates expected to be at least 20% in March. Some might already be thinking about opening a small business as retail sales soar by partnering with the best banks.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department reported the lowest level of new jobless claims since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with 576,000 people filing for unemployment insurance. This appears to have reassured consumers, who in turn boosted sales. The brighter outlook may boost other sectors and drive up the number of people getting a business checking account.