US consumer spending up 0.5 percent in December

Consumers boosted spending in December at the fastest pace in three months, giving the economy some momentum going into 2017.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending advanced 0.5 percent in December, a major improvement over the modest 0.2 percent gain in November. It was the best showing since spending had jumped 0.7 percent in September. Incomes also showed some improvement, rising by 0.3 percent in December, spurred by a rebound in growth in wages and salaries.

Consumer spending is closely watched since it accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. Overall growth had slowed to a weaker-than-expected 1.9 percent gain in the October-December quarter because of a slump in exports. But economists are looking for a rebound in the current quarter.