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US retail sales jump 0.6 percent in May on autos

Jun. 14, 2013 @ 08:19 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans stepped up purchases at retail businesses in May, spending more on cars, home improvements and sporting goods. The gain shows consumers remain resilient despite higher taxes and could drive faster growth later this year.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that retail sales increased 0.6 percent in May from April.

That’s up from a 0.1 percent gain the previous month and the fastest pace since February.

The April gain was led by a 1.8 percent jump in auto sales, the biggest increase in six months.

Excluding volatile autos, gas and building supplies, core retail sales rose 0.3 percent. That’s slightly higher than the 0.2 percent April increase.

Sales increased at hardware and general merchandise stores, but fell at furniture and appliance stores.
Separately, the Labor Department said the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 12,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 334,000. The decline suggests steady job gains will endure.
 

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