Americans saw their incomes rise in March and this spurred higher spending. But much of the extra money went to pay for more costly gasoline.
The Commerce Department says personal incomes rose 0.5 percent last month and consumer spending increased 0.6 percent. But after adjusting for inflation, spending rose a much more subdued 0.2 percent in March and after-tax incomes edged up a slight 0.1 percent.
Consumer spending had been expected to post solid gains this year, helped by stronger employment growth and a 2 percentage-point cut in Social Security taxes. But they are also paying more for gas and food, prompting economists to scale back their growth forecasts.