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Hiring, Cheaper Fuel Give U.S. Retailers a Boost: Economy

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Shoppers basking in the glow of falling fuel prices and rising employment are opening their wallets, paying new dividends for the U.S. economic expansion in the midst of the holiday season.

Retail sales rose 0.7 percent in November, the most in eight months, as consumers snapped up electronics, clothing and furniture, according to Commerce Department figures issued today in Washington. Other reports showed fewer Americans filed claims for jobless benefits last week and confidence climbed to the highest level in seven years.