WASHINGTON — Americans' income in February rose at the slowest pace in nine months, but consumer spending advanced at a healthy rate, the government said Wednesday.
The Commerce Department said personal income rose only 0.3% last month, just half the 0.6% increase of January.
While it was the smallest monthly gain since a 0.3% increase last May, analysts said some of the weakness stemmed from bad weather that forced plant shutdowns during the month.
Consumer spending advanced a much healthier 0.7% following strong gains of 0.8% in both January and December.
Analysts said the eagerness of consumers to continue spending should provide strong economic growth in coming months.
Consumers 'Alive and Well'
"Consumers are alive and well. They are spending and borrowing freely, based on plentiful jobs, low inflation and a generally upbeat mood," said Allen Sinai, chief economist at Shearson Lehman Bros.
Sinai said the gain in consumer spending would ensure a good rate of growth in the coming months.
The government will release its preliminary estimate for overall economic growth--the gross national product--today. Most economists are looking for a growth rate of about 4%.