U.S. consumer spending up 0.4% in November, best since July

Martin Crutsinger
AP Economics Writer

Washington – Americans increased their spending in November at the fastest pace in four months, and income growth rebounded to its strongest gain since August.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose at a 0.4% annual rate last month, led by a jump in spending on durable goods such as autos. It was up from a more modest annual gain of 0.3% in October and was the best showing since a 0.5% spending jump in July.

The Commerce Department said Friday that consumer spending rose a moderate 0.3% after a stronger 0.4% gain in November. Income growth also slowed in December, rising by 0.2%, just half the 0.4% increase in November.

Incomes rose 0.5% in November after a weak 0.1% reading in October, reflecting a surge in hiring last month that saw 266,000 jobs added, the most since last January.

Economists are counting on consumer spending, which accounts for about 70% of economic activity, to remain solid in the final three months of the year to support continued moderate economic growth. They are forecasting growth of around 2% in the current October-December quarter, similar to the 2.1% gain of the third quarter.