Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Retail spending last month grew by about 2% in a positive economic sign amid a significant rise in COVID-19 cases nationwide, the Commerce Department said in its monthly report Friday.
The department's report shows spending in the United States increased by 1.9% for September. Most analysts had expected growth of between 0.7% and 1.2%.
The figures show retail and food services also increased 1.9%. Apart from auto sales, retail sales rose by 1.5% last month. Spending at bars increased by 2.1%.
The department noted significant year-to-year increases in spending between July and October.
"Total sales for July 2020 through September 2020 period were up 3.6% from the same period a year ago," it said.
"Retail trade sales were ... 8.2% above last year. Non-store retailers were up 23.8% from September 2019, while building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers were up 19.1% from last year."
The September sales increase is an improvement over 0.6% growth in August, the report noted.