WASHINGTON — A surge in farm-subsidy payments helped drive Americans' personal incomes up 1.7% during October, the government reported Wednesday.
The 1.7% figure matched the monthly advance in July, 1981 which was the largest since a 2.5% gain in June, 1975.
The Commerce Department said the rise in personal incomes resulted in a big advance in the personal savings rate as Americans saved the extra wealth instead of spending it. Consumer spending in October was flat as auto sales fell for the second consecutive month.
The Commerce Department also reported a 0.3% rise in orders to U.S. factories for durable goods, a moderate advance propelled by a sharp jump in aircraft orders. It followed an even bigger 2.4% surge in orders in September. Analysts said the gains showed rising overseas demand for American products.