WASHINGTON – Consumers barely boosted their spending in August, a sign that overall economic activity could be weaker this quarter.
The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose just 0.1 percent, following a much larger 0.3 percent advance in July. It was the smallest gain since June.
The August weakness reflected a big drop in sales of durable goods such as autos. Income growth slowed to a gain of just 0.2 percent. Wages and salaries, the biggest component, showed no gain at all after strong increases in June and July.
A measure of inflation closely watched by the Federal Reserve posted a slight 0.2 percent increase. Over the past 12 months it is up 1.4 percent, still far below the Fed’s 2 percent target.