With results that implied a pickup in consumer spending, retail sales in the U.S. rose in May and sales for the month before were revised upward. The Commerce Department report that was fairly positive came after mild readings for inflation and a step-down for hiring, Reuters reported.
Retail sales increased by 0.5 percent last month per The Commerce Department as households purchased more motor vehicles as well as other kinds of products. April’s data was also revised to indicate that retail sales were gaining 0.3 percent instead of falling 0.2 percent. Economists that Reuters polled had projected a rise of 0.6 percent for retail sales in May. Retail sales advanced 0.5 percent in May with the exclusion of gasoline, automobiles, food services and building materials following April’s revised upward 0.4 percent increase.
Service station receipts increased 0.3 percent, while auto dealership sales accelerated 0.7 percent following a fall of 0.5 percent in April. Mail-order and eCommerce purchases increased 1.4 percent, while garden equipment and building materials sales rose 0.1 percent. Sales at hobby, musical instrument and book stores increased 1.1 percent, while sales at bars and restaurants rose 0.7 percent last month.
The news comes after retail sales in the United States dropped in April as American consumers cut their spending on clothes and appliances, among other purchases. The Commerce Department said in mid-May that sales dropped 0.2 percent. Car sales fell 1.1 percent, while sales at appliance and electronics stores decreased by 1.3 percent. Retail sales have reportedly been in flux, with retail sales increasing in January, dropping in February, rising in March and then declining again in April.
The results implied that U.S. consumers are hesitant to freely spend even with modest wage increases and job gains, the report noted. Retail sales are said to be closely monitored as they comprise roughly one-third of consumer spending. During the month, overall consumer spending increased by the most in almost 10 years after small increases in the previous two months per reports in May.