US retail sales rose in May despite slower hiring


WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. shoppers increased their spending in May, a sign that consumers are undeterred by the recent slowdown in hiring.

The Commerce Department says retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.5 percent last month, the second straight increase after a 1.3 percent gain in April.

Online and non-store purchases climbed 1.3 percent in May. Sporting goods stores, restaurants, clothiers and auto dealers also enjoyed gains. Higher gasoline prices fueled a 2.1 percent jump in sales at gas stations. Building material stores, furnishers and department stores saw their sales decline.

The gains occurred even though employers hired just 38,000 workers in May, a sharp slowdown from monthly job growth that routinely exceeded 200,000 over the past few years.

Total retail sales have risen 2.5 percent in the past 12 months.