U.S. Retail Sales in March Lift Economic 1Q Outlook

U.S. consumers were not constrained by higher gas prices in March and spent more on retail goods and services for the third straight month, indicating that growth in the fourth quarter may be higher than many economists initially forecast.
Retail sales increased 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department said, after rising 1.0 percent in February.
Total sales for the January through March 2012 period were up 6.4 percent from the same period a year ago. The January to February 2012 percent change was revised from 1.1 percent to 1.0 percent.
March’s gain easily beat economists’ expectations for a 0.3 percent rise, and signaled robust consumer spending in the first three months of 2012.
Consumer spending makes up more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
Economists are confident that the GDP grew at an annual pace of at least 2.5 percent in the January-March period, significantly higher than the under-2 percent rate many had projected earlier in the year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *