US retail sales increased more than expected in May as consumers bought cars and a range of other goods despite paying more for petrol.

The figures are the latest indication of an acceleration in economic growth in the second quarter.  

The Commerce Department said retail sales jumped 0.8% last month, the biggest advance since November 2017. 

Data for April was revised up to show sales rising 0.4% instead of the previously reported 0.2% gain. 

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast retail sales rising 0.4% in May. Retail sales in May increased 5.9% from a year ago. 

Excluding cars, gasoline, building materials and food services, retail sales increased 0.5% last month after an upwardly revised 0.6% increase in April. 

These so-called core retail sales correspond most closely with the consumer spending component of gross domestic product. They were previously reported to have risen 0.5% in April. 

The Federal Reserve raised interest rates last night for the second time this year. The Fed forecast two more rate hikes for 2018.

The Fed said "economic activity has been rising at a solid rate" and "growth of household spending has picked up." 

The strong retail sales report added to data ranging from the labour market to manufacturing and trade in suggesting the economy was regaining momentum in the second quarter after growth slowed at the start of the year amid a sharp step-down in consumer spending. 

US growth estimates for the April-June quarter are as high as a 4.6% annualised rate. The economy grew at a 2.2% rate in the first quarter. 

In May, car sales rose 0.5% after gaining 0.2% in April. 

Receipts at service stations surged 2%, reflecting higher gasoline prices. 

Prices at the pump have risen by 15.5% this year, according to US Energy Information Administration data. Expensive gasoline, if sustained, could pull spending away from other categories. 

Sales at building material stores rebounded 2.4% last month after declining 0.8%in April. 

Receipts at clothing stores surged 1.3%, the largest gain since March 2017. 

There were also increases in online retail sales, but receipts at furniture stores fell 2.4%, the largest drop since December 2013. 

Sales at restaurants and bars in the US also jumped 1.3%, the biggest gains since January 2017.