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Consumer Spending Rose 0.7 Percent In February; Higher Gas Prices A Factor

Retailers are doing all they can to attract consumers, who drive the economy. (File photo from 2012 of a store window in Santa Monica, Calif.)
Kevork Djansezian
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Retailers are doing all they can to attract consumers, who drive the economy. (File photo from 2012 of a store window in Santa Monica, Calif.)

There was a slightly larger-than-expected increase of 0.7 percent in consumer spending from January to February, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says.

Higher gasoline prices, though, were much of the reason for the rise. According to the bureau, if spending is adjusted for inflation the increase was a more modest 0.3 percent — the same as in January. And higher energy costs were behind most of the inflationary pressures last month.

Consumer spending is closely watched because consumers buy about 70 percent of all the goods and services that companies produce — meaning they drive the economy.

Meanwhile, personal income shot up 1.1 percent.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.