U.S. consumer spending in September recorded its smallest gain in eight months as income barely rose, suggesting some cooling in domestic demand after recent hefty increases.
The Commerce Department said on Friday consumer spending edged up 0.1 percent after an unrevised 0.4 percent rise in August. Consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
September's consumer spending data was included in Thursday's third-quarter gross domestic product report. Consumer spending rose at a brisk 3.2 percent annual pace in the third quarter, helping to lift GDP growth to a 1.5 percent rate.
Growth in the third quarter was constrained by business efforts to whittle down an inventory bloat, a strong dollar and ongoing spending cuts by energy companies.
Economists polled by Reuters had forecast consumer spending climbing 0.2 percent last month. When adjusted for inflation, consumer spending rose 0.2 percent in September after increasing 0.4 percent in August, suggesting consumption will continue to support the economy through the rest of the year.
Personal income ticked up 0.1 percent in September, the smallest rise since March, after increasing 0.4 percent in the prior month. With spending sluggish, inflation remained benign in September.
A price index for consumer spending slipped 0.1 percent, the first decline since January, after being flat in August. In the 12 months through September, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index rose 0.2 percent, the smallest increase since April.
It increased 0.3 percent in August. Excluding food and energy, prices rose 0.1 percent for a fifth straight month. The so-called core PCE price index rose 1.3 percent in the 12 months through September after a similar gain in August.
Inflation has persistently run below the Federal Reserve's 2 percent target.