The Commerce Department reported last week that retail sales fell in June for the third consecutive month. June sales dropped 0.5% followed a 0.2% drop in May and a .05% in April. A three month decline in retail sales has not happened since late 2008 when sales fell in the months July through December.
Part of the reason for the decline can be attributed to a cooling job market. American employers added fewer workers to payrolls than forecast in June and the unemployment rate stayed at 8.2%.
Household spending, which accounts for 70% of the economy has decreased. Department stores reported a decrease in spending of 0.7%, spending at furniture outlets decreased 0.8%, and 0.6% at motor vehicle and parts dealers. The furniture decrease is the biggest in a year.
Freight volume in North America dropped 2% from May to June as reported by TransCore. This 2% decrease was far from the norm. Over the past several years month to month increases were typically 12%.
Overall TransCore reported a year over year increase of 6.6% according to the freight volume index. This index measure the number of available loads offered by shippers, third-party logistics operators, and brokers on TransCore’s load posting programs.