Market News
December 13, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

Retail sales in U.S. rise ahead of holiday season

Improved retail sales data in the United States released on Thursday and a drop in jobless claims give some hope for a steady healing in the economy.

Data from the Commerce Department showed retail sales increased in November, boosted by demand for automobiles and holiday shoppers. Contributing to the gain was a jump in automobile sales which hit a four-year high. This was partly due to Americans purchasing new cars to replace those damaged by hurricane Sandy.

Retail sales last month jumped 0.3 percent following a 0.3 percent decrease in October. This was slightly below forecast but still considered a strong number.

Meanwhile retail chain stores such as Macy’s cut prices to lure customers who are increasingly concerned about looming tax increases and government cutbacks as the “fiscal cliff” issue remains unresolved. Holiday shoppers helped contribute to the increase in retail sales numbers as people bought clothes and electronics.

A separate report showed that the number of initial jobless claims fell to a nine-week low and a fourth straight week.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000 for the week ending December 8. This was more than the expected 369,000 and more than the prior week’s revised figure of 372,000.

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