U.S. retail sales rose less than expected in May and first-time applications for unemployment benefits increased last week, but that will probably do little to change views that the economy is regaining momentum.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales gained 0.3 percent last month. While that was below economists’ expectations for a 0.6 percent rise, April’s retail sales were revised to show a 0.5 percent increase.
Retail sales, which account for a third of consumer spending, had previously been reported have gained 0.1 percent in April.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits climbed 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 317,000 for the week ended June 7.
With job growth rising solidly in May and manufacturing and services industries expanding strongly, the retail and jobless claims reports probably will not cause too much anxiety.
U.S. stock index futures edged lower on the data, while prices for U.S. Treasury debt rose.
The economy added 217,000 jobs in May, the fourth straight month of job gains above 200,000. It has recouped all the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession. The unemployment rate held steady at a 5-1/2 year low of 6.3 percent.
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