Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Consumer spending in the United States soared by more than 5% during the month of January, the Commerce Department said Wednesday -- far more than most economists were expecting.
According to the department's monthly retail report, sales nationwide grew by 5.3% for the month.
Aided by a second round of stimulus payments given Americans in December, retail sales reached $568 billion in January, a year-to-year increase of 7.4%.
The department noted that retail trade sales improved 5.1% over December and were almost 11% better than January 2020. Online retail sales rose 29% year-to-year.
Wednesday's report showed that restaurants and bars are still far off their pace a year ago, before the impact of the pandemic.
The food services and drinking places sector, while up 7% from last month, was off more than 16% from January 2020.