The Commerce Department released its latest results and they're not good.
Retail sales dived by 1.2% last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.
It was a broad decrease and the third drop in a row. Sales in August decreased 0.4%, revised down from an originally estimated 0.3% decline. July sales fell 0.6%.
Economists expected a 0.7% drop in sales during September, the final month of the third quarter. The 1.2% drop was the biggest since 1.4% in August 2005.
The retail sales report illustrates where Americans are spending their money. Consumer spending is a big part of the economy. It makes up about 70% of gross domestic product, which is the scoreboard for the economy.
The drab readings over the summer on retail sales argue the case of many analysts: the U.S. is in a recession or heading for one.