Consumers Shy From Spending, Despite Tax Cuts

Spending at U.S. retailers bounced back in March, but the broader trend in consumer spending shows moderate growth despite a solid labor market and growing worker paychecks.

The Commerce Department reported that retail sales reversed three straight months of declines in March, rising 0.6% from the prior month thanks largely to a bump in auto sales.

While March’s gain exceeded economists’ expectations, it offered little evidence of a breakout in household outlays. Overall retail sales edged up 0.2% in the first quarter from the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, a holiday-sales period, they rose a more robust 2.5% from the prior quarter.

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