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U.S. Consumer Spending Remains Tepid

Wall Street Journal (11/08/13) Jonathan House

U.S. consumers spent cautiously in September, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Personal spending rose 0.2% in September from August, and personal income rose 0.5%, in part due to a rise in government wages, which had been depressed in previous months due to government furloughs. Meanwhile, the Thomson-Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell to 72 in November from 73.2 in October, reaching a two-year low.

U.S. payrolls increased by 204,000 jobs last month, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, but earnings showed little growth and hours worked fell. Rising mortgage rates and political uncertainty have depressed consumer confidence. Consumer spending slowed to a 1.5% annual growth rate in the third quarter from a 1.8% rate in the second, according to the Commerce Department.