The 0.2 percent increase in August followed a 0.7 percent gain in July that was larger than previously reported, Commerce Department figures showed. The median forecast of 84 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 0.3 percent advance.
Although confidence has taken a hit from stock-market turmoil and global-growth concerns, the data show households are still putting their savings from cheap energy to work. More jobs and higher pay would go a long way in supporting household spending, which Federal Reserve policy makers are watching as they consider raising interest rates as soon as this week.
“The trend is strong and robust,” said Gregory Daco, head of U.S. macroeconomics at Oxford Economics USA in New York, who correctly forecast the increase in retail sales. The data shows spending is “resistant to outside shocks, and that’s quite important at this point in time.”
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