WASHINGTON — Americans' personal income rose a healthy 0.6% in February while consumer spending was up 0.3%, the government reported today.
The Commerce Department said the gain in incomes followed a weak 0.1% January rise while the increase in personal consumption spending followed a 0.4% decline in January.
While both categories showed improvement, they were still well below the pace set in December.
The consumer spending increase was basically attributed to a swing in the weather. Unusually mild weather in January had sent utility bills down. In February, gas and electricity costs sprang back to more normal winter levels, which helped to push spending in the services category up at an annual rate of $16.3 billion last month.
This was the only area of strength in consumer spending as purchases of both durable goods, items expected to last three or more years, and non-durable goods fell for the second consecutive month.