ADDS US PRESIDENT'S REMARKS
By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - US retail sales rose sharply in September, according to figures released by the Commerce Department on Friday.
Retail sales came in at $625.4 billion, up 0.7% from a revised level of $620.9 billion in August.
While analysts expected a 0.2% decline on a monthly level, the figure in August was revised up from an increase of 0.7% to 0.9%.
The annual increase in September was 13.9%, compared to the same month of 2020.
"Gasoline stations were up 38.2% from September 2020, while food services and drinking places were up 29.5% from last year," the agency’s Census Bureau said in a statement.
They were followed by clothing and accessories stores with an annual increase of 22.4%, and electronics and appliance stores with 17.2%.
High inflation continues to be a major problem for the American economy.
The consumer price index (CPI) in September rose 0.4% from the previous month and 5.4% from the same period last year, while the producer price index (PPI) increased 0.5% on a monthly basis and 8.6% annually, according to the latest figures of the Labor Department.
US President Joe Biden said the September rise in retail sales is a further evidence of American economy returning to normal after the pandemic, noting that restaurants and bars are now up 30% over last year and 9% above their pre-pandemic levels.
He also pointed out to initial jobless claims falling below 300,000 level last week for the first time since March 14 -- the early period of the pandemic.
"The signs are clear that, despite the global challenges caused by the Delta variant, our economy is on the right track," Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
"Vaccination requirements have helped us continue to bring down the number of eligible unvaccinated Americans, from nearly 100 million in July to 66 million today. That is a major reason why COVID-19 cases and unemployment are on the decline—while jobs, wages, and retail sales are all rising," he added.