More salary, more confidence lifts US retail sales by 0.6 pct.

WASHINGTON – Americans hopped in their car to buy and holiday shopping in December, what a boost in confidence after the elections and a solid increase in the hourly wage.

The Commerce Department says retail sales rose a seasonally adjusted 0.6 percent, after a small 0.2 percent gain in November.

Auto sales jumped 2.4 percent in December, the largest gain since April. Gas station sales rose 2 percent, largely as a result of higher prices. Excluding cars and gas, retail sales were flat.

Still, online retailers in particular reported better sales. Consumer confidence rose after the elections, reaching the highest level in almost a decade. Small businesses are even more bullish. And the Americans’ paychecks are getting fatter: the Average hourly wage rose by 2.9 percent in December from a year earlier, the most in seven years.

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