Retail spending increased .3% in August in new data released by the Census Bureau Thursday. The data shows that even with high inflation, spending on general merchandise is continuing.
The data indicated that spending on motor vehicles and parts increased 2.8% in August, which puts it up 6.7% for the year.
Spending at food and beverage stores increased .5% in August, increasing to 7.2% over the last year.
Department stores saw a nice bump in spending at .9% in August.
Spending at furniture stores, however, saw a bit of a decline, dropping 1.3% for the month and 1.6% for the year.
In the last year, overall consumer spending has been up 9.1%, driven by higher gas prices. When excluding spending at gas stations, overall spending has increased by 7.4%.
After seeing an initial drop at the onset of the pandemic, consumer spending dramatically increased, especially in early 2021. Consumer spending cooled last summer but rose again in late 2021 and early 2022.
One possible impact on consumer spending is how inflation is outpacing wage growth. According to federal data, hourly wages are up just 4.8% in the last year, compared to an 8.3% increase in inflation over the previous year.