US Consumer Spending Declines

Posted August 2nd, 2011 at 11:35 am (UTC-5)
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U.S. consumers cut their spending in June, the first drop in this important part of the economy in two years.

Tuesday's report from the Commerce Department says consumer spending was off by two-tenths of a percent. Some of the decline came from lower costs for energy and food.

Economists watch consumer spending closely because consumer demand drives about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.

The downbeat report follows other recent data showing the U.S. economy growing at a meager 1.3 percent annual rate in April, May and June.

Slow economic growth is one reason U.S. unemployment remains high. Economists surveyed by news agencies predict the jobless rate will stay at 9.2 percent on Friday when government experts publish the latest information on unemployment.