By Washington, DCCNN —, CNN –
Spending at US retailers rebounded in November after declining in the prior month, pointing to the continued resilience of the US consumer.
Retail sales, which are adjusted for seasonal swings but not inflation, rose 0.3% in November from the prior month, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. That trounced economists’ expectations of a 0.2% decline, according to FactSet, and is a resurgence from the 0.2% decline in October, the first monthly decrease since the spring.
Excluding sales at gasoline stations, retail sales rose by an even stronger 0.6% last month.
Retail spending has only declined three times on a monthly basis since January, underscoring the remarkable strength of consumer spending this year.
Sales rose across most categories in November, increasing the most at restaurants, by a strong 1.6%. Americans also spent at a solid clip at specialty stores and online. Meanwhile, sales at gasoline stations declined the most in November, dropping 2.9%.
Thursday’s report shows that Americans continue to open up their wallets as inflation eases and the job market remains on strong footing. That’s on the backdrop of the highest interest rates in 22 years and slowing economic growth.
The job market remains strong
A strong job market begets similarly strong spending.
The US economy pumped out 199,000 jobs in November, a robust gain by historical standards, as the unemployment rate dipped to a low 3.7% that month. Wage growth also picked up in November.
The labor market has slowed from the robust years of 2021 and 2022, but it’s still solid. The latest economic projections from Federal Reserve officials, released Wednesday, show that the unemployment rate could edge up to 4.1% next year.
This story is developing and will be updated.