Greater consumer confidence lifts retail sales; producer prices up on gas, food

Greater consumer confidence lifts retail sales; producer prices up on gas, food

Shoppers at the Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta.

WASHINGTON - Americans stepped up their auto buying and holiday shopping in December, reflecting a boost in confidence after the election and a solid increase in hourly pay.

The Commerce Department says retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6%, following a small 0.2% gain in November.

Auto sales jumped 2.4% in December, the biggest gain since April. Gas station sales rose 2%, largely because of higher prices. Excluding autos and gas, retail sales overall were flat.

Still, online retailers in particular reported better sales. Consumer confidence has soared after the election, reaching the highest levels in nearly a decade. Small businesses are also more bullish. And Americans’ paychecks are getting fatter: Average hourly pay rose 2.9 percent in December from a year earlier, the most in seven years.

In a separate report, U.S. wholesale prices rose 0.3% in December, led higher by more expensive gas, food and cars.

The Labor Department says the producer price index, which measures price changes before they reach consumers, increased 1.6% last year. That’s the biggest 12-month gain since September 2014. Still, it is low historically and suggests inflation is largely in check.

The Federal Reserve has begun to slowly raise interest rates as the economy heals and is keeping a close eye on inflation. With wages starting to increase more quickly, companies may raise prices to offset those costs. Yet wholesale price increases remain below the Fed’s target of 2%.

December’s gain was led by a big climb in wholesale gas prices, which rose 7.8%.



Add Comment

all comments

  Other news

more
Lauren Goodger's pals BLAST rumours the former The Only Way Is Essex star has split from jailbird love Joey Morrison

Lauren Goodger's pals BLAST rumours the former The Only Way Is Essex star has split from..

26-Jul, 14:00

Sources close to TOWIE star Lauren Goodger have denied her relationship...

Lyft gains on Uber while taxis tank: survey

Lyft gains on Uber while taxis tank: survey..

27-Jul, 04:02

Uber and Lyft both stole ridership from car rentals and taxis, according...

1 killed, 7 injured after Ohio State Fair ride malfunctions (GRAPHIC VIDEO)

1 killed, 7 injured after Ohio State Fair ride malfunctions (GRAPHIC VIDEO)..

27-Jul, 01:10

An 18-year-old man has died and at least seven other people aged 13 to 41...

Trump lauds potential 13k new jobs in Wisconsin Foxconn factory, but robots may land all the gigs

Trump lauds potential 13k new jobs in Wisconsin Foxconn factory, but robots may land all the..

27-Jul, 01:10

President Donald Trump has announced that electronics giant Foxconn is...

Colorado Boy Safe After Flying Saucer Scare

Colorado Boy Safe After Flying Saucer Scare..

05-Mar, 00:14

The father of a 6-year-old boy whose disappearance held the country in...

Witnesses describe horror at scene of London mosque attack

Witnesses describe horror at scene of London mosque attack..

19-Jun, 04:02

Witnesses at the scene of a suspected deadly terrorist attack outside a...

Apple, PerkinElmer rise; EQT, Seattle Genetics fall

Apple, PerkinElmer rise; EQT, Seattle Genetics fall..

19-Jun, 18:00

Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Monday: PerkinElmer...

Democrats seek suspension of Jared Kushner's security clearance, pending Russia probe

Democrats seek suspension of Jared Kushner's security clearance, pending Russia probe..

21-Jun, 22:38

House Democrats are raising concerns about the security clearance held by...