U.S. consumer spending rose more than forecast in November and the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge advanced to an eight-month high, signs of economic vitality that should keep the central bank on track to raise interest rates gradually in 2018.
Purchases rose 0.6 percent after a 0.2 percent advance that was less than previously estimated, Commerce Department figures showed Friday. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 0.5 percent gain. Incomes rose 0.3 percent, slightly below projections, though the three-month gain was the fastest since early 2017.
While partly reflecting rising prices and spending related to energy, the results indicate strength in consumption, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy and is likely to drive U.S. growth again this quarter. Inflation moving closer to the Fed’s target may also reinforce expectations for interest- rate hikes next year under incoming Chairman Jerome Powell, and tax legislation awaiting President Donald Trump’s signature could provide a further boost to the economy.
One caveat: The report showed Americans’ spending is increasingly coming at the expense of storing up funds. The saving rate fell to 2.9 percent in November, the lowest since November 2007, just before the last recession began.