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A sign on the reopened boardwalk in Wildwood, N.J. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

U.S. retail sales rose 17.7% in May, rebounding from a revised 14.7% drop in April, the Commerce Department said on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The result — the biggest monthly jump in consumer spending ever — is a big upside surprise, much better than the 8% jump that economists expected. It's another sign, alongside May's hugely better-than-expected jobs report, that the worst could be over for the economic slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: Retail sales are still down 6.1% from the prior year. Most categories bounced back after taking blows in March and April, when businesses were forced to close. Still, for certain businesses, spending remains much lower than it was this time last year.

  • For example ... Sales at clothing stores jumped 188% from April, but are down over 63% from the same time last year.
  • But: Nonstore retailers — the category that's a proxy for e-commerce — saw sales rise 9% in May and sales in that category are up 31% from last year.
  • And spending at food & beverage stores (which includes grocery stores) rose 2% last month and is up 14.5% year-over-year.

Go deeper

CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”