Personal Spending Slows to a Crawl in February

Inflation cooling, but consumer confidence is down
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 28, 2008 11:37 AM CDT
A shopper looks at discounted rain boots in the Gap store at the Great Mall in Milpitas, Calif., in this Nov. 23, 2007 file photo.    (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, file)
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(Newser) – Personal spending—a major force in the health of the economy— rose just 0.1% in February, its smallest increase in 16 months, the Wall Street Journal reports. The increase, which actually beat analysts' estimate of a 0.1% decrease, came despite a bump in personal income and signs that inflation is easing, the Journal notes.

Another closely watched report today showed that consumer confidence is at a 16-year low, Bloomberg reports. The Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment fell to 69,5 in March, down from 70.8 in February. The momentum is still down, and I expect we will see negative spending numbers in the second quarter,'' said one economist.