After retail sales fell for two consecutive months, the Commerce Department reports that sales surged in November 0.8 percent, the biggest jump in five months. "These numbers make it highly unlikely that the Federal Reserve Board will lower interest rates when it meets later this month," says TIME's Bernard Baumohl. "The Fed won't act because this is one more sign, along with the firming of wages, that the economy is not weak and is growing modestly." The Commerce Department numbers surprised analysts who thought the debt carried by consumers could mean a sluggish holiday season. Policy-makers for the Federal Reserve will meet December 19 to review the economy and decide whether to lower interest rates.