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Weekly economic review & outlook Spending slowdown for August

September 21, 2020

You Need to Know

Week in review

Retail sales rise at a slower pace for August

Growth in consumer spending slowed for August after a very strong rebound following the reopening of state and local economies started in May.

Housing starts fall due to the volatile multifamily sector

Single-family housing starts and permits moved higher for August, reflecting strong fundamentals, but multifamily starts fell following a surge in the prior month.

Week Ahead

Forecasts

Existing home sales should continue to climb

Strong demand factors have persisted and pending home sales in July were at their highest point in 15 years, suggesting yet another increase for existing home sales.

Another, albeit smaller, gain expected for new home sales

Continued positive fundamentals for the housing market indicate that new home sales climbed again for August.

Retail sales growth slowed to 0.6 percent for August and July sales were revised downward, a weaker showing than expected. Spending on motor vehicles grew only modestly — despite a strong gain in reported unit sales — while sales at grocery, sporting goods, and department stores also dropped. Core retail sales (removing auto, building supply, and gasoline stations) fell by 0.1 percent for August, also with a downward revision for July — highlighting the general deceleration in retail spending for the month.

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