Thursday, January 14, 2009
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumers curbed their Christmas spending in December and more people filed claims for jobless benefits last week, casting fresh doubts on whether the economic recovery can last once government support fades.
The Commerce Department said on Thursday retail sales fell 0.3 percent last month, the first decline in three months, as consumers spent less on vehicles and an array of other goods during the holiday shopping month.
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November sales were sharply revised up to a 1.8 percent gain and October sales were bumped up a touch as well. Financial markets had expected retail sales to gain 0.5 percent last month.
A separate report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 11,000 to 444,000 last week, higher than the 437,000 claims that analysts surveyed by Reuters had forecast.
Full story here.