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Personal income, spending climb

Shoppers Personal income and spending both continued months-long growth in December, but personal saving is also mounting, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Personal income jumped $4.5 billion in December, a 0.4% uptick and the sixth increase in a row, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. November featured a 0.5% rise of $61.1 billion.

In its third monthly gain, consumer spending swelled 0.2%, or 0.1% after inflation.

“This morning’s personal income and spending report is another positive sign that our economy continues to move in the right direction,” said the department's chief economist, Mark Doms. “Further stimulus expenditures will support the ongoing expansion in consumer spending and income.”

December saw a 0.4% expansion of $45.9 billion in disposable personal income, compared with the 0.5% increase of $60.7 billion the month before. In 2005 dollars, both months had 0.3% growth.

Personal-consumption expenditures were up 0.2%, or $22.6 billion, in December, compared with a 0.7% boom of $69.1 billion the month before. Adjusted for inflation, December increased 0.1% and November climbed 0.4%.

The price index for the category, excluding food and energy, was up 0.1% in December and up 1.5% over all of 2009.

Consumers hoarded $534.2 billion in December, or 4.8% of their disposable income. They stashed away $506.3 billion in November.

Wages and salaries improved by $6.3 billion in December, compared to an increase of $25.1 billion the month prior. Service industries bumped their payroll $11.5 billion, followed by a $2.9-billion surge for government positions.

But goods producers were paid $5.2 billion less, after seeing a $2.9-billion escalation in November. Pay in the manufacturing sector was also down $2.2 billion, compared with a $3.5-billion increase the month before.

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo: Shoppers make their way through the Glendale Galleria on Dec. 13, 2009. Credit: Christine Cotter  / Los Angeles Times
 
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