The numbers: Sales at U.S. retail stores surged in September and rose for the fifth month in a row as Americans bought more clothes, went out to eat and splurged on new cars and trucks, suggesting an economic recovery was still well underway at the start of fall.
Retail sales climbed 1.9% last month, the government said Friday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 1.2% increase.
Setting aside the large auto segment, retail sales were still quite strong, up 1.5%.
Although retail sales have snapped back quickly to pre-crisis levels and done so far faster than expected, many economists worry a letdown is coming. People are returning to work at a slower pace, the coronavirus is spreading rapidly again, and Washington has failed to pass a second coronavirus-relief bill, triggering fresh worries about the health of the economy.