by Wolf Richter
Not a sign of strength, but of big economic distortions.
Consumers are spending their stimulus money and their extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits, and now the extra $300 a week in unemployment benefits, and their fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits. And they’re also spending the money they’re not paying to landlords because they’ve stopped making rent payments due to the eviction ban. And they’re spending the money they’re not paying to mortgage lenders because their mortgages are now in forbearance and they don’t have to make mortgage payments. And they’re spending on other stuff the money they’re not spending on airline tickets and restaurants and hotels. In other words, consumers are spending, but not always where they used to, and retail sales have hit a record in July and August, and much of this retailed merchandise was imported.