By RICHIE MALOUF
THE CENTER SQUARE
(The Center Square) — The U.S. Census Bureau Wednesday released advance estimates that showed U.S. retail sales fell 0.4% in May.
Motor vehicle and parts dealers took the biggest hit, with sales dropping 3.5%. Electronics and appliance stores sales decreased 1.3%. Furniture and home furniture stores, as well as health and personal care stores, also experienced a decrease in sales.
Overall, online sales were down 1% in May.
The report comes out as the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s recent Consumer Price Index reports consumer prices have spiked by 8.6% in the last year. Meanwhile, gas prices have risen to a record high $5.01 national average.
In California Wednesday, the average was $6.44 a gallon, according to the American Automobile Association. In Santa Barbara County, the average was $6.37 a gallon, while Ventura County saw an average of $6.42 a gallon. San Luis Obispo County, which has typically seen higher averages than Santa Barbara County, was above the state’s average with $6.63 a gallon.
Down south, Los Angeles County saw an average of $6.46 a gallon Wednesday, according to AAA.
Wall Street fell into a bear market this week, meaning an index like the S&P 500, the Dow Jones Industrial Average or even an individual stock is 20% below a recent high for a sustained period of time. The S&P 500, at close of trading Tuesday, was 21.6% down for the year.
As expected, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates Wednesday to combat inflation. However, polling shows many Americans lack confidence in the economy’s future performance and expect it to get even worse.
News-Press Managing Editor Dave Mason contributed to this report.