In the last three months of 2010 consumer spending reached its highest rate since early 2006. Spending should cool a bit, but the report is a positive sign for the economic recovery.
A holiday-season rush pushed consumer US spending to its strongest quarterly gain in more than four years – a display of confidence that adds to other recent signs that an economic recovery is gathering strength.
Spending grew at an annualized pace of 4.4 percent for the final three months of last year, the best showing since the first quarter of 2006, the Commerce Department reported Monday.
In part, the gains reflected an end-of-year retail splurge. Consumer spending rose in December by 0.7 percent from the prior month, which outpaced a 0.4 percent gain in personal income for the month.
But in general, both consumer incomes and spending are on an upward path, and the income gains have increasingly been coming from private-sector wages rather than government-supported programs.