U.S. retail sales are expected to post a record rise in May as 2.5 million Americans returned to work. However, the rebound is still small compared to the historic falls in March and April due to the lockdown measures.
The monthly report for May is expected to show an 8.0% increase in retailers, exceeding the previous record rise of 6.7% in October 2001 following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S.
The bounce is expected to retrace only a quarter of the sales decline recorded in the two previous months. March sales fell 8.3% and April 16.4%.
U.S. unemployment rose 22 million in March and April, but payrolls unexpectedly increased by 2.5 million in May.
The rebound in sales was also likely supported by high automobile sales, which climbed more than 12 million vehicles per year in its May sales rate.
The slow but steady growth in sales supported the thesis that consumer spending is recovering several months after the United States fell into recession in February.