by Jeffrey P. Snider
As with other economic accounts, retail sales dropped back in May after the temporary rebound coincident to calendar effects. Overall sales, including autos, grew just 1.9% over May 2015, well below the 3% level that historically defines recessionary conditions. That growth rate was the 39th worst in the entire data series (out of 281 months), placing it in the lower 15th percentile. In short, nothing has changed for a recession-like slump that now extends into its sixteenth month (since retail sales first dropped below 3% in February last year) and a slowdown that next month will mark its fourth anniversary (the 6-month average fell below 6% for the first time in July 2012).