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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.

DOJ pressed to enforce Al Jazeera foreign agent ruling

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Justice Department is being pressed to enforce its own demand that the U.S. arm of Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera register as a foreign agent.

Why it matters: The launch of Al Jazeera's new right-of-center U.S. media venture, Rightly, has refocused attention on the media company's alleged links to Doha, and DOJ's efforts to crack down on media outlets viewed as foreign interest mouthpieces.

Poll: Immigration is America's most-polarizing issue

Data: The American Aspirations Index/Populace; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Immigration was found to be the most polarizing issue in America based on new polling from Populace.

Why it matters: Americans have surprisingly similar priorities for the U.S., but immigration stands out as one of the few issues with clear partisan differences. It underscores the challenge for advocates and lawmakers hoping to pass immigration reform in the coming weeks amid narrow margins in Congress.