Spending increased 0.3% in November after an essentially flat reading in October and a 0.2% gain in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Personal income rose a solid 0.3% in November, reflecting solid gains in wages and salaries, after a 0.4% October increase.
Shoppers, worried about jobs and the economy, pulled back on spending in June, slowing sales for most retailers to the weakest pace since 2009. The figures have shown an uneven recovery. Discounters and high-end stores, for example, notched stronger growth last month. But for most, sales were disappointing.
Consumer spending jumped 0.7% last month and personal incomes rose 0.3%, the Commerce Department said. Both gains reflected a Social Security tax cut, which boosted take-home pay. Still, high gas prices soaked up much of the spending increase.