Spending and incomes show weak November gains

December 23, 2011 - 8:40 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Consumers spent at a lackluster rate in November as their incomes barely grew, suggesting that U.S. households may struggle to sustain their spending into 2012.

The Commerce Department says consumer spending rose just 0.1 percent in November, matching the modest October increase. Incomes also rose 0.1 percent. That was the weakest showing since a 0.1 percent decline in August.

Both the spending and income gains fell below expectations. Economists have said that solid increases in spending could boost economic growth in the final three months of what has been a disappointing year.

While the economy remains vulnerable to threats, particularly a recession in Europe, the job market has improved, lifting hopes for next year.