WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. shoppers kept their spending in check in April, as modest wage growth over the past year continues to keep family budgets tight.
The Commerce Department says retail sales were unchanged last month after rising 1.1 percent in March. Sales have risen just 0.9 percent over the past 12 months, as steady hiring has yet to spark significantly higher incomes.
Americans cut back on their purchases at autos dealers, furniture outlets, building supply stores, gas stations, super markets and department stores last month. Offsetting those declines were increases in spending at restaurants, clothiers, health-related stores and online retailers.
Excluding the volatile categories of autos, gas, building materials and restaurants, sales were flat.
Economists say that sales should improve once the strong job growth fuels an acceleration in wage growth.