The Census Bureau reported today
that U.S. consumers set a new all-time monthly record by spending $380.9 billion on retail and food services in December of last year. Without adjusting for inflation, this was the first time since the recession started in December 2007 that consumer spending has surpassed the pre-recession, previous record-high retail sales volume of of $380.0 billion set back in November 2007. The highest-ever retail spending amount in December was almost 8% higher than the year-earlier level, and spending in every category except department stores registered annual gains last month, with especially strong gains in sporting goods (7.1%), motor vehicles and parts (14.2%), building materials (13.1%), and clothing (7.4%). The 12-month retail sales total through December 2010 of $4.405 trillion was 6.6% ahead of the previous year's total.
Other recent positive economic news includes:
1. The Port of Los Angeles reported the 11th straight monthly increase in December for total shipping volume at the port on a year-over-year basis. The 8.82% increase in December's shipping from its year-ago level help to boost shipping activity for all of 2010 by 16% compared to the previous year.
2. Rail traffic for the first week of the year continued last year's ongoing trend of weekly gains in the amount of freight moving around the country, according to yesterday's report from the American Association of Railroads. Carloads were up by 20.1% and intermodal units by 8.6% for the week ending January 8.
3. The November Leading Economic Indicators increased for both Korea and China.