WASHINGTON – U.S. retail sales retreated in September as purchases of autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing slowed, a sign that recent job gains have yet to significantly boost consumer spending.
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The Commerce Department says seasonally adjusted retail sales dropped 0.3 percent from the previous month. Sales have risen 4.3 percent in the past 12 months.
August's surge in auto-buying tailed off in September, while lower gas prices cut into sales at service stations. The declines were partially offset by more shopping at electronics stores, possibly reflecting the release of two new iPhone models released by Apple last month.
Employers added 248,000 jobs in September, yet average hourly pay fell a penny to $24.53. Wage growth has barely kept pace with inflation, limiting how much Americans can spend.