Retail Sales Increase as US Consumers Propel Growth Rebound
Sales at US retailers picked up in May, a sign households are finally willing to put the gains from continued job growth and lower fuel prices to work.
The 1.2 per cent increase matched the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg and followed a 0.2 percent advance in April, Commerce Department figures showed Thursday in Washington. The gain was broad-based with 11 of 13 major categories gaining.
The data show American consumers are ready to spend on more than just automobiles, unlocking months of savings from cheap gasoline and higher incomes as the labor market improves. A pickup in purchases - accompanied by faster wage gains - would burnish the outlook for growth this year.
“It is a bounceback,” Laura Rosner, a U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, said before the report. “The outlook for consumer spending is still quite positive, and consumer fundamentals remain very solid.”
Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 85 economists ranged from gains of 0.4 per cent to 1.9 per cent. April retail sales were previously reported as little changed. March data were revised up to show an increase of 1.5 per cent from a previously reported 1.1 per cent advance.
Other reports Thursday showed claims for jobless benefits remained below 300,000 for the 14th straight week, and the cost of imported goods rose in May for the first time in almost a year as fuel prices rebounded.
News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM