WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers spent more in May as their income increased at the fastest pace in three months, gains that could help economic growth rebound.
The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose 0.3 percent last month. That made up a 0.3 percent decline in April, which was the biggest drop since the fall of 2009. The rise in spending was due in part to a 0.9 percent increase in purchases of durable goods such as autos.
Income rose 0.5 percent in May, the biggest gain since February and much better than the 0.1 percent April increase. Even with the gain, after-tax income is up just 1.1 percent over the past year after taking inflation into account.
Consumer spending is important because it drives 70 percent of economic activity.