Retail sales stalled in the United States last month, with the key consumer sector reflecting the high unemployment rate and wider concerns about the future of the economy.
The U.S. Commerce Department reported Wednesday that August sales figures were unchanged, after only a three-tenths of a percent gain in July. Because selling goods to consumers makes up a large percentage of U.S. economic activity, growth in retail sales is considered a necessary part of a growing overall economy.
Economists and officials at large store chains say the poor job market and lack of consumer confidence in the economy are leading to less buying by Americans.
A separate report from the U.S. Labor Department showed that prices at the producer level were also unchanged for August, meaning there is little concern about inflation. The producer price index was held down by a drop in the cost of oil and other energy products.