U.S. Economy

     (CN) – U.S. shoppers increased their spending in May, the second straight increase, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.
     The announcement suggests shoppers are relatively unconcerned by recent reports that hiring has grown sluggish.
     The department said Tuesday 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 higher sales. Rising gasoline costs fueled a 2.1 percent jump in spending at gas stations, largely reflecting the fact the government doesn’t adjust its retail sales report for inflation or changes in prices.
     Sales declines hit building material stores, furnishers and department stores last month, but total retail sales have risen 2.5 percent from a year ago.
     In other economic news, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Tuesday that employers paid an average of $33.94 per hour for employee compensation for civilian workers in March 2016. $23.25 (68.5 percent) of total compensation was paid for employees’ wages and salaries while $10.70 (31.5 percent) went toward benefits. Over the year, costs for wages and salaries increased $0.37 and costs for benefits rose $0.09.

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