The economy’s (and economists’) nemesis, Dr. Unexpectedly, strikes again, this time singling out retail sales strangling predictions for pleasing March numbers, as Alex Kowalski of Bloomberg reports:
Retail sales in the U.S. unexpectedly fell in March by the most in nine months as employment slowed, showing households ended the first quarter on softer footing.
The opinion of many in Washington is that the economy is too strong to be held down forever, that the animal spirits of Americans beyond the beltway will inevitably prevail over the misguided policies and uncertainties heaped upon them by the political class.
Perhaps. But for now, the trend seems to be one step forward and one step back and toward the dangerous possibility that Americans, many of whom have already given up on the economy, will come to think of what we have now as the new normal.