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US Personal Income, Spending Rise in February

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Consumer spending in the US rose at the fastest pace in three months as income increased, a sign the US economy was regaining momentum after a prolonged weather-related slowdown.

US consumer spending rose 0.3 percent in February, following a 0.2 percent gain the prior month, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. The median estimate of economists called for a similar gain.

Real personal consumption expenditure, a figure that adjusts consumer spending for inflation, rose 0.2 percent, the highest since November. Real consumer spending had risen 0.1 percent in January, official data showed.

Personal income from all sources rose 0.3 percent, following a similar gain the previous month. Economists forecast a gain of 0.2 percent.

Friday’s data suggest the US economy was regaining momentum in February, as consumers began shaking off one of the coldest winters in recent memory. Unusually cold temperatures and heavy snowfall disrupted activity throughout the united States, leading to sharp declines in durable goods orders, industrial production and retail sales.

Earlier this month the Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.3 percent in February, following two months of decline. Core retail sales, which exclude volatile products such as automobiles, gasoline, building materials and food services, also increased 0.3 percent.

Government data will continue to make headlines next week. The Commerce Department is scheduled to report on factory orders, which declined of 0.7 percent in January. The Labor Department will release fresh employment figures for March at the end of next week. The US economy reportedly added 175,000 payrolls last month, according to initial government estimates.

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