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Retail Sales Dip For Third Straight Month, But Are Still Up From Year Earlier

The bad news: Retail sales fell 0.5 percent in June from May, the Census Bureau says. It's the third straight month that sales have been down from the month before.

But, Census adds that June sales were 3.8 percent above the pace of June 2011. And, "sales for the April through June 2012 period were up 4.7 percent ... from the same period a year ago."

Bloomberg News says the June drop is "a sign limited employment gains are taking a toll on the biggest part of the economy." The consensus among economists before the report's release was that sales most likely went up about 0.2 percent last month.

Dow Jones Newswires calls the report "the latest sign of a slowing economy."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.