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U.S. economy looks resilient as retailers, industry surge

WASHINGTON — Americans spent more money at retailers and factories revved up production in June, offering encouraging signs of the U.S. economy's resilience in the face of global headwinds.

Industrial production shot up 0.6 percent, fueled by a big rebound in auto output. It was the best showing since last August. Meanwhile, retail sales also rose 0.6 percent last month, three times May's gain, with demand strong in a number of areas.

Inflation pressures remained modest, with consumer prices climbing 0.2 percent in June. Prices are up just 1 percent from a year ago, still well below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target.

The new reports Friday came a week after the government's blockbuster jobs report, which showed the economy created 287,000 jobs in June. It marked a major bounce-back after a dismal gain of just 11,000 jobs the previous month. May's result, coupled with a lackluster showing in April, had raised worries that the U.S. jobs machine was starting to sputter.

Analysts said the strong job growth in June and solid consumer spending should provide good momentum for the economy heading into the second half of the year.

The economy grew at an anemic 1.1 percent rate in the first quarter, as measured by the gross domestic product, held back by a slowdown in consumer spending and troubles in manufacturing. Analysts are hopeful that GDP growth strengthened to 2 percent or better in the second quarter, and many are looking for further acceleration.

"It is beyond doubt that consumers have shaken off their winter blues," said Chris G. Christopher Jr., director of consumer economics at IHS Global Insight, who said that consumer spending and housing would help bolster growth going forward.

U.S. economy looks resilient as retailers, industry surge 07/15/16 [Last modified: Friday, July 15, 2016 8:07pm]
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