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Monday, October 24, 2016

U.S. Retail Sales Surge 1.1 Percent In March

U.S. Retail Sales Surge 1.1 Percent In March

Washington (AFP) – U.S. retail sales leaped higher in March, giving further evidence of stronger economic activity after a particularly brutal winter, government data showed Monday.

Retail and food services sales surged 1.1 percent from February to $433.9 billion, slightly above the average analyst estimate, according to the Commerce Department.

The February gain was revised upward to 0.7 percent from the prior estimate of 0.3 percent, another sign that consumer spending held up despite bad weather that gripped much of the country.

Robust auto sales contributed largely to the upbeat March report, a key indicator of consumer spending that accounts for most U.S. economic activity.

Auto sales were the best gainer, jumping 3.1 percent, according to the data, which is not adjusted for price changes.

Retail sales excluding motor vehicles and parts rose 0.7 percent, topping the 0.5 percent rise expected.

Spending fell at electronics and appliance stores, miscellaneous stores and at gasoline stations.

But restaurants saw sales rise 1.1 percent, and building material and garden supplies sales increased 1.8 percent.

Nonstore retailers, largely online businesses, showed a gain of 1.7 percent from February.

Year-over-year, March sales were up 3.8 percent. Retail sales for the first quarter of the year were up a solid 2.5 percent from the same period a year ago.

Though the March report was a bit better than expected, with the monthly increase the largest since September 2012, “there was no release of pent-up demand as a result of winter-delayed purchases,” said.

AFP Photo/Frederic J. Brown

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  • Dominick Vila

    Another impeachable offense in the Tea Party playbook. The economy is bouncing back, unemployment is going down, hiring signs can be seen everywhere, the stock market is at record levels, new construction has resumed, sale of existing homes is back to normal levels, foreclosures and bankruptcies are back to normal levels, our companies are posting record profits, banks are extending credit, and optimism dominates public opinion and has influenced consumer confidence and spending.
    All of this while reducing the size of government, government spending, Federal government deficits, and reducing the amount of borrowing. Yes, President Obama’s economic policies are working, they helped us dodged the silver bullet fired by the Republican party during W’s tenure and perhaps not surprisingly, the Tea Party remains determined to take us back to the good old days when even our pathetic former President announced that the collapse of the U.S. economy was imminent, and we were engaged in two medieval crusades paid for with borrowed money while the country responsible for 9/11 was left off the hook. Only masochists would root for a return to a horrendous era that should be confined to the annals of history.