U.S. retail sales rebound from harsh winter's chill, jobless claims fall
“We see this as further confirmation that the underlying momentum in the economy remains quite favorable, and we look for further upside spending momentum in the coming months.”
Economists had expected a 0.2 percent increase in retail sales in February after snow and ice blanketed densely populated regions during the first half of the month.
That was the lowest reading since late November. Economists had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits rising to 330,000 in the week ended March 8.
“There is certainly no sign of weakening, adding to the evidence that recent slowing in payrolls is weather-related and temporary,” said Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, N. Y.
Retail sales are expected to accelerate in the spring as warmer temperatures and improving household finances help to unleash pent-up demand.
So-called core sales, which strip out automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, and correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product, rose 0.3 percent in February.
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