Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

U.S. retail sales fell 16.4% in April, even worse than the previous record fall set in March, as consumers pulled back on spending during the coronavirus economic lockdown.

Why it matters: It's another indication of how the pandemic is curtailing consumer spending, which is the main driver of the U.S. economy, as people stay home and a record number of Americans are out out work.

By the numbers: The report, which reflects a full month of state-mandated closures for businesses, is worse than the 12.3% monthly drop economists expected.

  • Strip out car sales, and April's retail figures come in at an even worse 17.2%.

Details: Except for online retailers, all retail categories — including auto dealers, furniture shops and clothing stores — suffered declines that would have been unfathomable before the coronavirus.

  • Clothing store sales collapsed 79% from March, and 89% from a year ago.
  • Food and beverage stores, a group that includes grocery stores, fell 13.1% from last month's big boost, when Americans raced to fill their pantries. That's an indication that the panic-buying has eased.
  • Yes, but: Looking at how the category did versus this time last year, it's one of the few that is faring better now in a pandemic environment. Sales are up 12% from last year.

Go deeper

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.

Traffic to job-searching sites is down

Data: SimilarWeb; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Traffic to career sites like,, and others is down during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new half-year traffic report from SimilarWeb.

Why it matters: The CARES Act may have made it easier for job seekers to delay employment searches, according to SimilarWeb. Record unemployment could also suggest that people are hiring less.

Uber CEO proposes "benefits funds" for gig workers

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called for establishing "benefits funds" for gig workers in a New York Times op-ed out Monday.

Why it matters: Gig workers, who remain independent contractors and not employees, have long pushed companies like Uber for benefits comparable to those received by traditional workers. The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant economic strain has broadened those calls.