Following three monthly declines, retail sales rose 0.6 percent in March.

Auto sales helped drive a rebound retail sales in March, but the overall rise is moderate. The Wall Street Journal reports Retail Sales Growth Sluggish Despite Higher Employment, Fatter Paychecks.

Spending at U.S. retailers bounced back in March, but the broader trend in consumer spending shows only moderate growth despite a solid labor market and growing worker paychecks.

Retail sales—a measure of outlays at stores, restaurants and websites—increased a seasonally adjusted 0.6% in March from the prior month, the Commerce Department said Monday, beating economist expectations.

Part of the rise in retail sales was an expected bounceback after three consecutive months of weak readings. In February, sales dropped 0.1% after a 0.2% drop in January and a 0.1% decline in December.

“Retail sales rose for the first time in March, but the report was nothing to write home about,” wrote Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, in a note to clients. “Consumer spending is growing at a moderate pace.”

We are into the final month of data for first-quarter GDP. It will be a lackluster first quarter.

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