Consumer spending, bolstered by strong job growth and tax cuts, rose a solid 0.4 percent in July, the sixth straight month of healthy gains, while a key measure of inflation posted its largest annual gain in more than six years.

The Commerce Department says the July spending gain followed a similar 0.4 percent rise in June. Inflation, as measured by a gauge closely watched by the Federal Reserve, rose 2.3 percent for the 12 months ending in July, the fastest annual increases since March 2012.

While the inflation increase was higher than the Fed's 2 percent target, central bank officials have said they are willing to tolerate slightly higher inflation for a time given the six-year period when inflation fell short of the 2 percent goal.