Consumer spending up 0.2 percent in May, helped by auto sales; income rose 0.4 percent

NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

U.S. consumers stepped up their spending slightly in May, boosted by a jump in auto sales and higher income.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.2 percent last month after no gain in April. The two months followed a robust spending surge of 0.8 percent in March. The spending trend is regarded as strong enough to propel the economy after a dismal start to the year.

Income rose a solid 0.4 percent in May after a 0.3 percent April gain.

An inflation gauge that's closely monitored by the Federal Reserve has risen 1.8 percent over the past 12 months, the fastest rise since late 2012 but still below the Fed's 2 percent target.