Consumer spending up despite higher gas prices

Americans might complain about higher gasoline prices, but new government data show that hasn’t stopped them from driving to the mall.

Retail sales jumped 1.1 percent in February, the biggest monthly increase since last fall, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Consumers went shopping for new cars, clothes, electronics and sporting goods despite spending 3.3 percent more at gas stations. The results boosted estimates of how fast the economy is growing, particularly on the heels of data showing a strengthening job market.

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