National Retail Sales Drop; Job Losses RiseNationwide retail sales dropped last month, with a 1.1 percent decrease a surprise decline, as job losses increased and consumers pulled back on spending.
The 1.1 percent decrease follows a 0.3 gain in February that was higher than expected, according to a Commerce Department report. Auto dealers, restaurants and electronic stores led the slide.
The indicators point to lower consumer spending in the second quarter and signal the recession will continue. Despite this, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says there are signs that the sharp decline in the country's economy is slowing, and this indicates a potential first step to recovery.
Another government report from the Labor Department shows prices paid to US producers fell unexpectedly fell last month after two months of gains, an indicator that the recession is curbing inflation.
The 1.2 percent decrease followed a 0.1 percent gain in February, says the report. Without including fuel and food, core prices remained unchanged. Over the last year wholesale expenses fell by the most in nearly 60 years.