U.S. retail sales increased less than expected in October and could slow further, restrained by spiraling new COVID-19 infections and declining household income as millions of unemployed Americans lose government financial support.
While other data on Tuesday showed production at factories accelerating last month, output remained well below its pre-pandemic level and the uncontrolled coronavirus outbreak could disrupt production. The public health crisis and frail economy are major challenges confronting President-elect Joe Biden when he takes over from President Donald Trump in January.
Biden on Monday urged a divided Congress to come together and pass another pandemic relief package.
That is unlikely to happen before he is sworn in on Jan. 20, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to pump more money into the economy, which plunged into recession in February. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the recovery was slowing, adding the economy would continue to need support from both fiscal and monetary policy.