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Consumer spending up 0.4 percent in December

Jan. 31, 2014 at 10:41 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- U.S. consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, while incomes were statistically flat, the Commerce Department said Friday.

The department revised spending growth in November from 0.5 percent to 0.6 percent. For December, however, spending growth eased back by 0.2 percentage points. Disposable income, a figure scrutinized by the retail sector, was also flat in December.

In hard figures, personal income rose by $2.3 billion, which comes out to less than 0.1 percent. Disposable incomes fell by $3.8 billion, which is also less than 0.1 percent.

With economists predicting a gain of 0.2 percent in consumer outlays, spending did beat expectations. However, with incomes flat, spending could weaken in January.

Friday's report pegged consumer prices as rising 0.2 percent in December after an increase of less than 0.1 percent in November.

Core prices, which excludes the categories of food and energy, rose 0.1 percent in December, the same pace as November, the department said.

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