Consumer spending up 0.5 percent in March

April 29, 2011 at 10:53 AM

WASHINGTON, April 29 (UPI) -- Consumer spending rose 0.6 percent and incomes were up 0.5 percent in March, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported Friday.

The bureau said the rate of spending slowed from February, revising the gain in the second month of the year from 0.5 percent to 0.9 percent in its latest report.

For March, disposable incomes rose 0.6 percent compared to February.

In March, private wages and salary disbursements increased by $18 billion, compared with a rise of $16.4 billion in February. Payrolls at goods-producing firms rose by $6.2 billion with manufacturing payrolls up by $5.1 billion. Service-oriented firms increased their payrolls by $11.8 billion in March, about half the lift of the previous month.

Salaries and wages rose by $1.2 billion for government jobs. A month ago, government disbursements to workers fell by $400 million.

The bureau said consumer prices inched 0.4 percent higher in the month, matching February's gain. Core prices, which exclude food and fuel prices, rose 0.1 percent after increasing 0.2 percent in February.

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