U.S. retail sales increased in November, as automobile demand returned and shopper started holiday shopping for clothes and electronics. The gain of 0.3% for November followed a decrease of 0.3% for October. The average forecast by economists called for an increase of 0.5%. In November, gas stations experienced the largest drop in receipts in over four years, which reflected the price of gasoline.
Last month car sales increased to a high of four years partly because of people replacing autos that were damaged due to Hurricane Sandy. The Federal Reserve on Wednesday expanded stimulus in an effort to lower unemployment and boost the economy as big stores like Macy’s lowered prices to attract customers who have become increasingly concerned over the looming government cutbacks and increase in taxes.
Other data reports showed that jobless claims for benefits dropped more than had been forecast last week, while there was also a drop in producer prices for November, as there was a retreat in energy costs.
The applications for unemployment payments fell by over 29,000 to just over 343,000 for the week that ended December 8. Forecasts had thought the figure would be higher at 368,000 claims.
Light trucks and cars sold during November at an annual rate of 15.5 million. That was the fastest pace since early 2008 and was up from October’s figure of 14.2 million. Ford Motor Co saw an increase in deliveries of light trucks and cars of 6.4%, while GM saw its sales increase by 3.4%.