WASHINGTON  | US retail sales climb in May by the most in 6 months

WASHINGTON | US retail sales climb in May by the most in 6 months

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WASHINGTON — U.S. retail sales rose by the most in six months in May, as consumers spent more at home and garden stores, gas stations and restaurants.

The Commerce Department says retail sales rose 0.8 percent last month, the largest increase since November. Excluding the volatile gas and auto categories, sales also rose 0.8 percent.

Consumers are very confident in the economic outlook, buoyed by steady job gains, an unemployment rate at an 18-year low of 3.8 percent, and the Trump administration’s tax cuts. The solid job gains have meant more Americans earning paychecks to spend.

Healthier consumer spending is accelerating growth after a sluggish first quarter. Analysts forecast growth is likely to reach 4 percent in the April-June quarter, up from 2.2 percent in the first three months of the year.

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By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER, AP Economics Writer, By Associated Press

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