WASHINGTON — Americans stepped up their retail spending last month, a sign that low unemployment and modest wage gains are encouraging consumers to shop.
The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.5% in May, after a smaller gain of 0.3% in the previous month. April’s figure was revised up from an earlier estimate that had showed a decline.
The figures suggest that Americans remain confident enough in the economic outlook to spend. In June, the economy reached its 10th year of expansion, tying the 1990s as the longest on record. Measures of consumer confidence, after stumbling this spring amid the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, have returned to nearly 19-year highs.
Sales at electronics stores jumped 1.1% and rose 0.7% at auto dealers. Sales in a category that includes mostly online rose 1.4%.
Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press