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Friday, December 3, 2021

Retail sales jumped in September as consumers spend more and prices rise.

Retail sales rose in September, the Commerce Department reported Friday, a second-straight month of gains, as consumer spending dodged a hit from rising prices and widespread supply-chain disruptions.

A 0.7 percent increase in sales last month, followed by a 0.9 percent increase in August, was better than economists had expected. Sales at restaurants and bars, gas stations and clothing stores continued to increase in September, along with an increase in overall spending.

Economists polled by Bloomberg had forecast a 0.2 percent drop in overall sales.

Auto sales rose 0.5 percent in September, despite shortages in semiconductors and shipment delays disrupting the car market. Excluding auto sales, retail spending increased by 0.8 percent, driven by higher gasoline prices. Oil prices climbed to their highest level in seven years in recent weeks amid the global energy crisis, with only gradual efforts to ramp up production.

The gains come as supply chain disruptions that remain linked to the pandemic and rising prices continue to undermine consumer confidence. The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Survey, a gauge for spending behavior, fell in September, after declining over the past two months, driven by the spread of the delta version of the coronavirus and inflationary pressures.

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The Labor Department reported Wednesday that prices of consumer goods rose more than expected in September, as people were paying more for items such as meat, eggs and furniture. In response to rising inflation, the Social Security Administration announced the same day that benefits would increase by 5.9 percent in 2022, the biggest jump in 40 years.

To address some of the supply chain issues, President Biden announced on Wednesday that the Port of Los Angeles would double its hours of operation. The move comes ahead of the all-important holiday season and is aimed at resolving the impasse that has slowed shipments of manufactured goods from Asia.

Major companies including Walmart, UPS and FedEx will also extend their working hours in hopes of addressing the backlog in the global supply chains that deliver critical goods to the United States.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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