Retail sales edge up
Retail sales moved up 0.7% from the previous month in September, and 13.9% from September 2020, according to the Department of Commerce retail report issued October 16. Total sales for the three-month period of July through September were up 14.9% from the same period a year ago.
Auto sales were up 1.4% for the month of September, building material sales were up 2.3%, and home furnishing sales were up 2.9%. Non-store retailers (primarily online) were up 1.6%. Sales at restaurants and bars were up 3.5% for the month, as consumers continued to return. Sales were up 2.1% from one year earlier.
Personal consumption expenditures increased by 0.6% in September even as personal income declined by 1.0%, according to the Commerce Department.
Employment rises along with average pay
The U.S. economy added 531,000 jobs in October, and the unemployment rate edged down by 0.2% to 4.6%, according to the Employment Situation Report issued November 5 by the Department of Labor. Most of the new jobs were added in the leisure and hospitality sector, professional and business services, manufacturing, and transportation and warehousing.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by $0.11 to $30.96 in October. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.9%.
All sectors rise in October, led by Consumer Discretionary and Energy
All 11 sectors of the S&P 500 moved up in October, with Consumer Discretionary leading the way, up 10.94%. The Energy sector, which has led all sectors this year with a 58.07% gain through the first 10 months, also had a strong month, up 10.36%, followed by Information Technology, up 8.17%.
The chart below shows the results of the 11 sectors for the past month and year-to-date: