WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. retail sales surged in March at the fastest pace since late 2017, as spending on autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing jumped.
The Commerce Department says that sales increased a seasonally adjusted 1.6% from February, the strongest increase since September 2017.
The gains mark a sharp rebound from a lackluster period of sales dating back to December. It’s a sign that the healthy job market has likely made consumers more eager to spend in ways that boost overall economic growth.
Sales at gas stations climbed 3.5% in March, while spending at auto dealers jumped 3.1%. Clothiers reported a 2% gain and furniture stores enjoyed a 1.7% bump.
Excluding autos and gas, retail sales increased by a still solid 0.9%.
During the past year, retail spending has grown 3.6%.