Eurozone’s growth rate nudges up a paltry 0.2%

The eurozone economy is failing to pick up any real momentum despite the good news that Greece has finally emerged from its crippling, six-year recession.

The bloc of 18 countries using the currency posted a 0.2 percent increase in output in the third quarter of the year compared with the previous three-month period. That’s not enough to make a serious dent in the near-record unemployment, and few economists think it’s going to get much better any time soon and may require more help from the European Central Bank.

The figure reported Friday is equivalent to an annualized rate of around 0.8 percent, way short of the U.S.’s 3.5 percent.

Nation’s retail sales rise ahead of holiday shopping

U.S. retail sales rose modestly in October, evidence that recent job gains and lower gas prices are lifting consumer spending as the holiday season begins.

The Commerce Department said Friday that retail sales rose 0.3 percent last month after falling by the same amount in September. Excluding gas stations, where falling prices lowered spending, sales rose a solid 0.5 percent.

Employers have stepped up hiring, giving more Americans paychecks to spend and boosting consumer confidence. Greater spending could spur more growth because consumer spending makes up about 70 percent of economic activity.

Business inventories climb at a faster rate in September

U.S. businesses added to their stockpiles at a faster rate in September, though sales remained weak.

Business inventories increased 0.3 percent in September following a tiny 0.1 percent rise in August, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The August increase was the weakest showing in more than a year. Sales were flat in September after having fallen 0.5 percent in August.

– From news service reports