U.S. retail sales climb by 3.0% in January
By Scott Kanowsky
Investing.com — Retail sales in the U.S. grew by more than expected to begin the year, in a sign that consumers’ willingness to spend may be increasing thanks in part to a tight labor market and moderating inflation.
According to new numbers from the Commerce Department on Wednesday, seasonally-adjusted retail sales in the world’s largest economy climbed by 3.0% in January on a monthly basis, rebounding from a decline of 1.1% in December.
Economists had estimated that the figure would rise by 1.8%.
The reading comes after data on Tuesday showed that inflation moderated to 6.4% year-on-year in January following a series of aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. However, inflation accelerated month-on-month.
Meanwhile, nonfarm payrolls grew by 517,000 through the middle of the month, abruptly snapping a four-month trend of slowing job gains. Analysts had expected a further slowdown to 185,000, which would have been the slowest job growth in nearly two years.
December’s payroll data were also revised up by 37,000 and November’s by 34,000, reinforcing the surprise in the January numbers. As such, the numbers provided further evidence that a labor market that overheated as the pandemic eased is still only slowly losing steam.