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November consumer spending posts biggest rise, 0.5%, in 5 months

Economic IndicatorConsumers

The Commerce Department reported Monday that consumer spending rose to its highest level since June, another late-year sign of renewed strength in the U.S. economy.

Consumer spending rose 0.5% last month, after increasing a revised 0.4% in October, according to figures released Monday by the Commerce Department. 

The agency also reported that consumers’ income rose 0.2% in November, an improvement from a 0.1% decline the month before. A more detailed breakdown of income showed that wages and salaries rose by  0.4%, reflecting steady job growth in the private sector.

Monday’s report is closely watched because consumer spending accounts for 70% of economic activity. The report follows news last week that economic growth during the third quarter was stronger than previously anticipated.

In its third – and final estimate -- the Commerce Department last week reported that U.S. gross domestic product – the total value of goods and services produced – expanded by 4.1%, higher than a previous 3.6% estimate.

The upward revision was in part due to increased consumer spending, largely on automobiles and other durable goods.

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