U.S. consumer spending slowed in August, with a key retail sales gauge unexpectedly declining, as extended unemployment benefits were cut for millions of Americans, offering more evidence that the economic recovery from the COVID-19 recession was faltering.
The report from the Commerce Department on Wednesday ramped up pressure on the White House and Congress to restart stalled negotiations for another fiscal package. At least 29.6 million people are on unemployment benefits. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of the U.S. economy.
The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept interest rates near zero, noting that the pandemic “will continue to weigh on economic activity” in the near term, “and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term.”Reuters