Jun 17, 2020 - Economy

Retail sales remain at multiyear low even after record monthly jump

Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: U.S. Census Bureau; Chart: Axios Visuals

While U.S. retail sales saw the largest month-over-month increase on record in May, year-over-year sales actually declined by 6.1%.

The big picture: Excluding the prior two months, May's $485.5 billion of sales was the lowest since August 2017.

  • Retail sales have been under $500 billion in each of the past three months after holding above that marker every month since May 2018.
  • Even after this month's bounceback, the decline from February to May is nearly equal to the largest decline recorded in a similar period during the Great Recession.

Worth noting: May's increase came during a time when parts of the country remained under quarantine orders and some states had yet to fully reopen.

  • And the 17.7% monthly jump is the largest in U.S. history.

Go deeper: Survival of the biggest: Coronavirus transforms retail

Go deeper