WASHINGTON — Retail sales fell 0.2% in May, the first decline in 11 months, led by a sharp drop in auto sales as a spending slowdown in the coming months could threaten the economic recovery for state and local governments, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Sales excluding autos increased 0.3% in May, the smallest gain in 10 months.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.