Nominal retail sales were up +0.6% in August. Meanwhile, July’s reading was revised downward by -0.3%. Since in July and August consumer inflation was up +0.6% and +0.4%, respectively, that means revised *real* retail sales rose +0.3% in July and +0.2% in August. This means that the net result over two months was lower than previously thought for the month of July alone.
Nevertheless real retails sales did establish a new record high, above any reading from before the pandemic:
Historically consumption has led employment (/2) by several months (albeit with lots of noise), and has an even closer relationship with aggregate hours (all shown YoY below):