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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

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

8 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

10 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.