US retail sales go upMarch 14th, 2012 - 11:49 am ICT by IANS
Washington, March 14 (IANS/EFE) Sales at US retail outlets increased by 1.1 percent in February to an annualized volume of $407.8 billion, the highest in five years, the Department of Commerce said Tuesday.
The government adjusted Tuesday its January figures, which now indicate that the increase in retail sales that month was 0.6 percent compared with an initial estimate of 0.4 percent.
Excluding motor vehicles, retail sales in February were up 0.9 percent.
Retail sales are an important indicator of the economic outlook of the US, a country where consumer spending makes up almost 70 percent of economic activity.
The US economy gained 227,000 jobs last month, but the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent, the Labor Department said last Friday.
Expansion in employment had no impact on the jobless rate because of an increase in workforce participation, according to the report, which also revised January’s job-creation figure from 243,000 to 284,000.
The latest numbers show December-February generated the largest net job growth in a three-month period since 2006.
The recession that began in December 2007 and officially ended in June 2009 destroyed 8.4 million US jobs. Roughly 1.2 million new positions have been created in the last six months, the labor market’s strongest performance since the spring of 2006.
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