Just about halfway through life with the coronavirus, there was a mix of good and bad results coming to us last month. On the positive end of the spectrum, the U.S. Commerce Department reports that retail sales at restaurants jumped by 5 percent last month – easily outpacing the 1.2 percent growth experienced by the broader retail industry. Despite that improvement however, sales at food and drinking establishments are still down by nearly 20 percent compared to July of 2019. The University of Michigan revealed recently that consumer sentiment changed little in early August – rising by just 0.3 points since the end of July. Compared to the 5.6% drop we saw as coronavirus cases flared up from June to July, one could opine that the slight increase shows the indicator is stabilizing. And finally, it was very much a mixed bag in data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as the agency reported that real average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.4 percent from June to July 2020. This result seems to stem from a 0.2% increase in average hourly earnings being more than offset by an increase of 0.6 percent in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). By contrast, real average hourly earnings increased 3.7 percent from July 2019 to July 2020.