Retail sales in U.S. surge by 10% in March; jobless claims way down

A bartender and patron are seen at Seamus McDaniel's tavern in St. Louis, Mo., on March 17. Bars and restaurants saw a 13.4% increase in spending in March. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

April 16 (UPI) — Americans appear to have used some of their stimulus cash at retail outlets last month, as sales nationwide surged by an explosive 10%, according to government figures Thursday.

The Commerce Department said retail sales were up 9.8% for the month of March. The dramatic rise was the best monthly gain since last May (18.3%).

Sporting goods (23.5%), clothing (18.3%) and motor vehicle parts and dealers (15.1%) saw the greatest increases, the report said. Bars and restaurants saw a 13.4% increase in spending as many states loosened COVID-19 restrictions last month.

Many economists expected March sales to increase about 6%.

Meanwhile Thursday, the Labor Department said 576,000 U.S. workers filed new unemployment claims last week, a decline of 193,000 from the previous week.

The new weekly figure is the lowest since March 2020. The four-week moving average declined to 683,000.

The unemployment rate for the most recent week available, ending April 3, was 2.7%, the labor report said.


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