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November 16, 2009    

US retail sales up 1.4% in October

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by Kay Murchie
US retail sales up 1.4% in October

Figures published by the Commerce Department today have revealed a better-than-expected 1.4% rise in US retail sales for the month of October. Analysts had expected a rise of 0.9%.

The rise follows a revised 1.5% decline in September, and October’s rise was attributed to an increased demand for cars, despite the Government’s ’cash for clunkers’ scheme coming to an end.

Excluding car sales, overall retail sales rose by just 0.2% in the month, which according to analysts, underlines the fragile nature of the economic recovery.

Sales at non-store retailers grew 1%, while sales at restaurants and bars rose 1.2% - which represented the largest monthly gain in more than 9 months.

It seems that the run of good news for the world’s largest economy is continuing after it was revealed last week that the number of US workers filing new claims for jobless benefits last week fell for the second consecutive week to the lowest level since January.

Official figures show that claims for state unemployment insurance fell to 502,000 in the week ended November 7, down from the revised 514,000 the previous week.

Meanwhile, it was recently revealed that the US economy expanded at an annualised rate of 3.5% between the July and September period, suggesting that the economy had exited its worst recession in 70 years.

The growth pace in GDP exceeded expectations, with many expecting growth of 3%. The US economy last experienced growth in the second quarter of 2008, when it grew 2.4%.

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