Warning sign: shoppers go freezing in March

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Source:   —  April 13, 2016, at 7:16 PM

Retail sales dropped 0.3 percent in March compared to February, the Commerce Dept said Wednesday. Economists expected an expand of 0.1%, according to FactSet, a firm that collects economic and financial data.

Warning sign: shoppers go freezing in March

American buyers didn't spend much in March.

Retail sales dropped 0.3 percent in March compared to February, the Commerce Dept said Wednesday. Economists expected an expand of 0.1%, according to FactSet, a firm that collects economic and financial data.

The decline in retail sales is another warning sign about U. S. economic growth. Consumers create up nearly seventy percent of economic activity, making retail sales a key indicator.

Much of the decline was in car and restaurant sales. Auto sales were down 2.1 percent in March while restaurants and bars sales dropped 0.8%.

Sales were flat in Feb and declined in Jan on a monthly basis. Lukewarm spending by consumers this year has caused experts to drastically reduce their expectations for U. S. economic growth at the beginning of this year.

Related: IMF warns of 'increasingly fragile' global growth

In February, the Atlanta Federal Reserve only a few weeks ago estimated that the economy would grow over 2.5 percent in the first quarter of this year. Presently it'south projecting growth of 0.1% -- following to nothing. The Atlanta Fed isn't alone. Economists at Wells Fargo (WFC), Bank of America (BAC) and many other institutions have revised down their growth expectations for the first quarter.

Negative retail sales only raises concerns that U. S. growth could unhurried further. On Tuesday, the IMF reduced its expectation for American economic growth, along with global growth overall.

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