US Retail Sales Up 1.6% in March, Fastest Pace Since September 2017

U.S. retail sales surged in March at the fastest pace since late 2017, as spending on autos, gasoline, furniture, and clothing jumped.

The Commerce Department said that sales increased a seasonally adjusted 1.6% from February, the strongest increase since September 2017.

The gains mark a sharp rebound from a lackluster period of sales dating back to December. It’s a sign that the healthy job market has likely made consumers more eager to spend in ways that boost overall economic growth.

Sales at gas stations climbed 3.5% in March, while spending at auto dealers jumped 3.1%. Clothiers reported a 2% gain and furniture stores enjoyed a 1.7% bump.

Excluding autos and gas, retail sales increased by a still solid 0.9%.

During the past year, retail spending has grown 3.6%.

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