Americans continue to venture back out into public to buy services they went without for more than a year—a shift that is adding fuel to the economic recovery and stirring higher inflation.

Consumer spending, the biggest source of economic demand in the U.S., rose 0.5% last month after surging in March, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The report offered mostly positive signs about the direction of the economy’s path out of the pandemic-induced downturn. After months of buying goods from the safety of their homes, Americans are increasingly comfortable enough to go out in public and buy things in person, a shift that economists say is crucial to getting the economy running at full speed again. Spending on services, which account for the bulk of all consumer purchases, rose 1.1% last month; spending on goods fell 0.6%.

The higher spending is being fueled by rising vaccination rates, falling business…

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