US consumer spending edged up 0.2% in December, the critical shopping month, government data showed today, highlighting sluggish growth in the key driver of economic activity.
Personal incomes increased twice as much, at a pace of 0.4%, the Commerce Department reported, as consumers kept their wallets shut in the face of rising job insecurity and worries about the strength of recovery from a severe recession.
The increase in spending during the year-end Christmas shopping season was the smallest since September, according to the seasonally adjusted Commerce Department data, and followed an upwardly revised 0.7% rise in November. Most analysts had forecast a 0.3% rise in both spending and incomes. (more)