U.S. retail sales rose at a solid pace last month, a sign that consumers are rebounding from weak spending in the first three months of the year and driving better economic growth.
The Commerce Department says retail sales increased 0.3 percent in April, down from a 0.8 percent gain in March, which was revised higher. The spending gains were spread across most retail categories, with big gains at furniture and clothing stores.
A strong job market is showing early signs of lifting Americans’ incomes. The unemployment rate has fallen to a 17-year low of 3.9 percent. Measures of consumer confidence remain healthy, despite rising gas prices and a rocky stock market.
Clothing-store sales, fueled by price cuts, jumped 1.4 percent, while sales at home and garden stores rose 0.4 percent.