Shoppers search for clothing at Uniqlo Retail Clothing Company on November 12, 2021 in New York City. Robert Nickelsberg | Images
US buyers ramped up spending in October even as product prices jumped at their fastest pace since the 1990s, the Commerce Department reported on Tuesday.
Retail sales, a measure of how much consumers spent on products ranging from automobiles to sporting goods, food and gasoline, rose 1.7% in October, up from 0.8% the previous month.
Excluding automobiles, sales also rose 1.7%, according to the Census Bureau advance estimate .
Both digits were greaterrs to the Dow Jones estimate of 1.5% for the print headline and 1% for the basic sales gain.
Online shopping posted the largest relative gain for the month, in 4% increase and good for a 10.2% gain from a year ago. Soaring prices at the pump pushed gasoline sales up 3.9% in October. Year-over-year, sales at resorts were up 46.8%.
The news comes after the Consumer Price Index, measuring a basket of similar products, rose 0.9% in October and 6.2% year-on-year. This year-over-year gain was the largest since 1991. Even excluding food and energy, the CPI was up 0.6% from the previous month and up 4%. , 6% year over year.
However, retail sales figures - which are adjusted for seasonal variations but not for inflation - indicate that consumers areNot willing to pay higher prices, despite a recent indication that sentiment is at its lowest level in 10 years.
"So much for low consumer confidence signaling slower growth; this what people do is much more important than what they say, "wrote Ian Sheph Erdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
US households are overflowing with cash, through a series of payments approved by Congress to tackle the crisis of the "Covid pandemic . Spending totaled over $ 5,000 billion and included transfer payments in the form of direct checks to millions of Americans, as well as improved unemployment benefits, most of which expired in September.
Savings totaled $ 1.6 trillion in the third quarter, a far cry from the May pandemic peaks always at a high level. However, concerns about inflation have surfaced in public opinion polls.
Spending has remained high, however, with debt and credit card spending on the rise by 27% on a two-year basis, according to Bank of America.
Overall, sales are up 16.3% year-on-year.
L Electronics and home appliances also grew substantially, up 3.8% for the month, while
However, restaurant and bar sales were flat for the month despite rising 29.3% year-over-year, and Clothing stores fell 0.7% but were still up 25.8% from the same point in 2020.
A separate report releasedTuesday by the Labor Department showed that import prices rose 1.2% in October, ahead of the Dow Jones' estimate of 1% and the fastest increase since May. This was well ahead of the 0.4% increase in September.
In addition, industrial production rose 1.6% in October, ahead of the estimate of 1% and a rebound from the 1.3% drop in September. And capacity utilization reached 76.4%, its highest level since December 2019.
Correction: Excluding automobiles, sales also increased by 1.7%, according to the estimate prior to the Census Bureau. An earlier version distorted the percentage.