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Published on : Jun 12, 2014

Retail sales in the United States showed a lower-than-expected rise in May 2014. First-time applications claiming unemployment benefits saw a rise in the first week of June 2013. However, these signs are not likely to change the general belief that the American economy is back on the growth track.

The country’s Commerce Department said on June 12, 2014, that retail sales grew by 0.3% in May 2014. Though this was lower than the expectations of economists – who had predicted a 0.6% increase – the retail sales of April were revised to reflect a 0.5 percent growth. Retail sales in the United States constitute nearly one-third of the total spending by consumers. They were earlier reported to have gained 0.1% in April 2014. 

The Labor Department, in a separate report, said that the initial claims for benefits for state unemployment grew by 4,000 to reach 317,000 (seasonally adjusted), for the week that ended on June 7.

However, job growth showed a steady rise in May 2014, and strong expansion was observed in the manufacturing industry and services sector. These factors are thus likely to muffle the minor blow caused by jobless claims and sub-par retail growth. Reports also showed that the U.S. economy added as many as 217,000 jobs in May 2014. This marks the fourth month straight when job gains have been above 200,000 per month. This has compensated for nearly 8.7 million jobs that were lost during the 2008 recession period. The rate of unemployment as well remained steady at 5.5 year low of 6.3%.