Report: Consumer Spending Disappoints
Consumer spending stood at a virtual standstill last month despite drastically lower gas prices. The Commerce Department announced today that spending inched up just 0.1% in January after dipping 0.3% in December. Retail analysts had expected a 0.4% uptick. The report excluded car, building materials and food services sales as well as gasoline purchases.
Speaking of gas, the news came as a surprise in part because the roughly 40% decrease since June in oil prices should be saving consumers money to spend on other goods. Economists told Reuters that those savings are likely going toward paying off debt incurred during the Great Recession. Last month, a consumer confidence gauge enjoyed its best results in eight years.