The consumer spending in the United States grew at a brisk rate in November with the boost in sales during the holiday shopping season due to lower gasoline prices, signalling a good sign of underlying momentum in the country’s economy.
The Commerce Department report on Thursday showed the retail sales, except gasoline, building materials automobiles and food services, rose 0.6 percent in November after rising 0.5 percent in October.
The increase in consumer spending exceeded the expectations of Wall Street for a 0.4 percent gain.
The consumer spending accounts for over two-thirds of the economic activity in the United States.
The Commerce Department figures also suggested that the consumer spending has been accelerating in the fourth quarter after the slowdown in the July-September period.
Meanwhile, the US stock index futures contributed to gains and the yields on US Treasuries edged up following the release of the data. The greenback gained against the yen, while rising against the euro.
RBC Capital Markets chief economist Tom Porcelli said, “It was a constructive number as we push ahead into the year-end holiday season. Consumers are taking some momentum into the end of the year.”
The Labor Department’s another report showed that the new claims for unemployment benefits dropped last week, forcing them firmly beneath the key 300,000 level, signaling a continuous improvement in the country’s labor market.