Vital Signs: Consumers Keep a Lid on Spending

One of the green shoots that emerged in recent weeks turned brown in April. Retail sales last month were decidedly weaker than expected, falling 0.4% from March, when they dropped 1.3% from February. Most economists had expected a small gain, based on rising consumer confidence, a later-than-usual Easter, and the April kick-off of the Making Work Pay tax reduction.

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