With the Federal Reserve indicating repeatedly that it will not raise lending rates to quell a spike in inflation, from the current rate of about 1.6% to its target rate of 2%, the U.S. economy is rocketing like never before.
March retail sales figures surged +9.8% higher than in February. It was a huge surprise! Wall Street analysts had been forecasting a +1.3% rise in retail sales. Surges of this magnitude were unprecedented, until the comeback from COVID-19 and government stimulus.
For the 12 months through the end of March, total retail sales shot +27.9% higher.
Retail sales comprise 30% of gross domestic product and are a key component of consumer spending.
Meanwhile, on April 16th, the Census Bureau reported housing starts in March came in at 1,739,000, beating the 1,610,000 expected. This is +19.4% above the revised February estimate of 1,457,000 and +37% above the March 2020 rate of 1,269,000.
March housing construction permits, a forward-looking indicator of housing starts, came in at 1.766 million for March, suggesting the housing boom will continue.
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