CBS Local — U.S. retailers had a holly, jolly Christmas after taking in a record $598 billion this holiday season. The boost in sales is being hailed as a good sign for both sellers and shoppers, who were willing to spend more this year.

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“This is literally the best season since before the recession,” business owner Craig Johnson told CBS News.

Johnson’s retail analysis company credits 2017’s spending boom with lower unemployment and a soaring stock market.

“When real income goes up, people have money in their pocket and they’re able to spend it,” he said.

“Our finances are stable and we’re buying more,” shopper Manuel Rivera added. This year’s holiday spending spree was a $33 billion jump from last year and the best performance in both online and in-store spending since 2011.

“It started with a bang in the week leading up to Black Friday,” Mastercard’s Sarah Quinlan told The Wall Street Journal. “Overall, this year was a big win for retail.”

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“Fewer people are living paycheck to paycheck,” economic research firm IHS Markit’s Chris Christopher added.

America’s newfound trust in the economy during the holidays came after unemployment reached a 17-year low in October. The booming job market also sent the country’s consumer confidence rating to a 17-year high in November.

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