WASHINGTON – U.S. consumers increased spending modestly in January from December. Income plunged by the most in two decades, although the decline followed a one-time surge in December.
The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in January. The gain was driven by an increase in spending on services, primarily reflecting higher heating bills. Spending on durable goods such as cars and non-durable goods such as clothing actually fell.
Income growth fell 3.6 percent in January, the biggest drop since January 1993. But it followed a hefty 2.6 percent rise in December. The December gain reflected a rush by companies to pay dividends and bonuses before income taxes increased on top earners.