WASHINGTON Americans spent more online in November to start the holiday season and began to replace cars and rebuild in the Northeast after Hurricane Sandy.
U.S. retail sales rose 0.3 percent in November from October, the Commerce Department said Thursday. That offset a 0.3 percent decline in October from September.
Meanwhile, first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments declined more than forecast last week to the lowest level since early October, adding to evidence the labor market is improving.
Applications for jobless benefits fell by 29,000 to 343,000 in the week that ended Saturday, the fewest since reaching a four-year low in the period that ended Oct. 6, Labor Department figures showed Thursday.
The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls declined for a fourth straight week.
Other reports Wednesday showed a decline wholesale prices and a rebound in retail sales in November. The 0.3 percent gain in purchases reflected stronger sales of automobiles, electronics and clothes, according to Commerce Department data.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
Information for this article was contributed by Bloomberg News and The Associated Press.