WASHINGTON – Americans boosted their spending by 0.4 percent in March, the best showing in three months. Meanwhile, a key gauge of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve rose at the fastest pace in more than a year.
The Commerce Department says the March increase in consumer spending followed two months of very weak readings with no gain in February and only a 0.2 percent increase in January. The result is an encouraging sign that economic growth, which slowed in the first quarter, will accelerate in the current quarter.
Personal incomes advanced a moderate 0.3 percent in March, matching the February gain.
An inflation gauge tied to consumer spending advanced 1.9 percent in March compared to 12 months ago, close to the Fed's 2 percent goal for inflation.