WASHINGTON (8/14/13)--U.S. consumer spending in the retail sector during July increased at its fastest pace in seven months, indicating quicker economic growth and that the U.S economy is surmounting the effects of federal budget cuts and higher taxes (The New York Times and Bloomberg.com Aug. 13).
Retail sales rose 0.02%--the fourth consecutive monthly gain--following a 0.6% gain in June, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. Excluding building materials, cars and gasoline, retail sales climbed 0.5% in July.
Recent employment gains may be prompting households to spend somewhat more freely, Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics in London, told the Times.
Retail sales are a crucial component of the department's gauge of consumer spending--which contributes 70% of the output of the U.S. economy and is the economy's biggest driver, the Times said.