U.S. retail sales increased by the most on record in May after two straight months of sharp declines as businesses reopened, offering more evidence that the recession triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic was over or drawing to an end.
The report from the Commerce Department on Tuesday followed news early this month that the economy created 2.5 million jobs in May. Layoffs are also ebbing and manufacturing activity is improving, though production remains at very low levels.
The surge in retail sales last month recouped 63% of March and April’s decreases. But the journey to recovery could be long and difficult as some parts of the country are experiencing a resurgence of COVID-19 infections. In addition, enhanced federal government unemployment checks will run out in July.