The Conference Board said its index of leading economic indicators (LEI) rose 0.9% last month to 116.0. Economists polled by Reuters had expected an increase of 0.8%. Even though the U.S. economy is forecast to grow this year at its fastest pace since the 1980s, there are signs the recovery could be cooling off. Supply-chain bottlenecks continue to slow manufacturing growth, and consumer sentiment plummeted in early August to a decade-low as Americans gave faltering outlooks on everything from personal finances to inflation and employment.
The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell to a 17-month low last week, pointing to another month of robust job growth, though surging COVID-19 infections pose a risk to the labor market recovery.
Online retail giant Amazon is planning to open physical retail locations similar to department stores. The first locations of the stores, roughly 30,000 square feet in floor space, are expected to be in California and Ohio. The stores would likely open in strip centers, given the space, which requires a smaller footprint than traditional department stores. It’s another foray into brick-and-mortar sales for the company, which recently passed Walmart as the world’s largest retailer outside China.