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U.S. personal spending jumps 0.8%, income up 0.2%

U.S. personal spending jumps 0.8%, income up 0.2% (by Jeffry Bartash)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - Consumer spending in the U.S. jumped 0.8% in February, largely because of higher energy costs, even though income rose a much smaller 0.2%, the Commerce Department reported Friday. As a result, the personal savings rate fell to 3.7% from 4.3%, the lowest level since August 2009. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast income to rise by 0.4% and spending by 0.7%. Yet adjusted for inflation, disposable income (money leftover after taxes) dipped 0.1% last month. That's because the price index for personal consumption, a key inflation gauge tracked by the Federal Reserve, rose 0.3%. The core PCE index, which excludes food and energy, edged up a smaller 0.1%, matching expectations. In the past 12 months, the PCE index moderated to a 2.3% increase from 2.4% in January. The Commerce Department also revised January data to show a 0.2% rise in income, down from 0.3% originally. And the gain in spending was revised up to 0.4% from 0.2%.